Diwali is the time for happiness and celebration. It is the Indian festival of light and light in today’s modern world is more than just ‘diyas’ and lamps- Firecrackers have come to. be an integral part of Diwali celebrations. They are quite the sight to behold but underneath all the visual scenery created by firecrackers, they are also a source of air pollution. Ever wondered what creates those stunning visuals? – Copper, Cadmium, Aluminum, Sulphur, and Barium, amongst other elements, are behind it, resulting in the emission of nitrogen oxides and Sulphur dioxide.
The recent Supreme Court verdict to ban the sale of firecrackers till November 1st shows the severity of the situation. Last year, PM2.5 levels reached to more than 1200 in certain parts of the capital during the festivities season whereas the World Health Organization annual average level is below 10. The annual average of PM2.5 for the capital region is 122, making it the 11th most polluted city in the world. But Diwali saw those figures dangerously jump up to ten-fold. The capital region is not the only place where this phenomenon occurs, it’s the story of every region during the festivities season.
From the above graph, we can see that post-Diwali there is an increase in the air pollution in Delhi and as such, in every other place where Diwali is celebrated. Running is an integral part of life for those are conscious about their health and fitness and given that the outside scenery is core to running, people mostly go for running outside as compared to indoors. A majority of us run either on a regular basis or occasionally.However, the post-Diwali spike in pollution makes this a complicated matter as the increase in pollution may make outdoor running detrimental to one’s health.
Here are some tips that can help you combat the post-Diwali pollution and also keep up your daily running.
- First advice would be to avoid outdoor running and instead stick to indoor exercises or join some gym or fitness class for the time being. Even, sticking to alternate forms of exercises at home is advisable. After all, running outdoors in the pollution would defeat the very purpose in the same place it adversely impacts your health.
2. If indoors is not an option, then it’s time to decide if your regular place for running is suitable post-Diwali or not. It is best to avoid public parks, roads and or any place that is close to places where-ever Diwali celebrations were being done. There’s always a chance of wastage from the celebrations not being cleared properly. Go for parks or jogging trails away from the hustle of the crowd and places which have fewer pollutants. However, selecting the place for running isn’t all, it is important to keep in mind about the commute too. Avoid places which require you to go through highly polluted areas. If there’s no avoiding commuting via such places then do so at least with your windows rolled up and for two-wheelers and pedestrians use a facemask (N95 respirators being the most effective) or at least use a cloth to cover the mouth and the nostrils.
3. It is a well-known fact that pollution is higher in the evening than compared to in the morning. As such, it is advisable to run in the morning and avoid doing so in the evening.
4. Given the increase in pollution levels, it is best to wear clothes covering the skin and lessening the exposure of the skin to pollutants. However, it would not be effective in eliminating exposure of pollutants to our respiratory system.
5. Despite what measures one takes, one is bound to face some degree of pollution while doing running outdoors. In order to tackle this exposure to pollution, food can play an important role. Foods can help fight inflammation and boost our immunity systems which help combat air toxins. Garlic, Onion, green leafy vegetables and fruits rich in Vitamin A & Vitamin C are your best bet to fight against pollution.
6. Also, do not forget to drink more water than usual and tea helps too. Water helps to flush out toxins which may have entered our body and also keeps the skin healthy.
7. It goes without saying that if despite all these measures you find yourself develop or signs of any respiratory issues, do not hesitate to immediately rush to a hospital emergency.
People’s awareness regarding air pollution peaks during the festivities season but unfortunately air pollution is something that is present throughout the year. People alone are not to be blamed for this as Diwali season is the time when regulatory bodies are driven in the panic mode and do the maximum amount of promotional activities to increase awareness regarding air pollution. The tips mentioned should be followed throughout the year to keep yourself safe and healthy.
Diwali is the festival of light and it should be celebrated as such- light diyas and lamps and spread the light of joy and life this Diwali season. Help celebrate a clean Diwali and keep running.