The result of a similar study showed that 75 percent of the citizen in urban areas had some form of respiratory problems and half of these had ‘damaged lungs’. Compared to this, only 30 percent of the rural area suffer from such problems. Oral cavity cells are generally the worst affected due to the menace of air pollutants. Interestingly the study revealed, these cells are extensively damaged in people who were examined under the study and their chromosomes had micronuclie thereby indicating genetic disruption.
The worst affected in urban areas are the drivers, traffic policemen, garage workers and roadside hawkers as they have maximum exposure to vehicular emissions. The other category includes firefighters, industrial workers and petrol pump attendants while office staff, housewives and students are in the minimal risk category. Delving deeper into the functioning of body parts, the study verified that respiratory problems were just the tip of the iceberg.
The percentage of Alveolar Macrophages (AM), the cells generated to destroy harmful pollutants affecting the respiratory systems were almost seven times higher in the urban areas compared to the rural areas. Such cells in the urban population were larger in size and researchers attrituted thus to “an abortive attempt to absorb extremely high levels of pollution”. Many of these cells, which normally contain one nuclei had two or more such nuclei. In some cases the structure of the cells were found to be deformed thus showing genetic abnormality. The iron deposits in Alveolar Macrophages pointed towards a possible damages in red blood cells that carry oxygen to the different parts of the body from the lungs. Acid phosphates are the type of enzyme that help the AM digest foreign substances and the level of this enzyme is raised due to which there is genetic discorder of the cells. Similarly Elastese, an enzyme which is responsible for damaging connective tissues are automatically multiplied by the effects of vehicular pollution.
These point out to probabilities of lung damage, damage to nuclei and cells, all pointing towards the chances of contracting lung cancer. These enzymes with the higher levels present, are the probability of contracting serious damages and diseases. These point out to a bleak future healthwise, a gloomy story about intense suffering and slow death. The courts have taken cognizance of this situation and Delhi specifically, on Public Interest Litigations directing the officials to check pollution. The public conveyance systems including auto rickshaws, taxies and buses belonging to the Private Sector have been directed to be checked for emission norms. Euro I and II are emission norms which are applicable to all vehicles in European countries and any vehicle sold have to match these standards. The introduction of Compressed Natural Gas as fuel for these public vehicles and private buses has definitely been an improvement and now made mandatory as per Court orders. Indeed, the difference is therefore all to see.
The smog which was all pervading as a blanket over the city of Delhi is not as obvious. The other step should be to make it compulsory in all the metros. Vehicles even five years old, do not meet the emission norms of the day and what is required is an innovation which will save these vehicles from being discarded totally which would result in enormous waste. The innovation should be a new fuel injection system, to replace the earlier carburetters or conversion kits which could be economically possible and allow the vehicles to run on liquid petroleum gas or LPG cylinders. These could be separately supplied instead of cooking gas cylinders. The importance of a clear environment is now all the more necessary after the Kolkata disclosures and its effect on Genetic Disruption. The situation is now leading forward at an alarming pace and drastic action need to be taken if we are to save our country from becoming one populated by Genetically Disrupted citizens.