Pandemic along with taking lives, making air pollution worse for Indians

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Covid is not completely ended but had welcomed various effects in different ways. Now complaints are coming from different states about air pollution getting worse due to the burning of Covid patient bodies as the number of deaths in past month were unimaginable in India. People from Pune state, Ranchi and now Delhi living in those areas are expressing their problems due to the cremation of Covid bodies.

Shipra is a resident of Delhi and lives nearby cremation ground. She said, ‘The crematorium is right behind one lane from my house. From my terrace, we could see it properly. From march it has not been a single day, we have not seen smoke coming from cremation process. Its every day. From a week I noticed difference’. Talking about air pollution caused by it, she told EAT news, ‘Definitely I believe, air pollution index must have gotten worse in a past month because this neighborhood is feeling it. It has become impossible for use to stand at our balcony because we could feel the suffocation and the smell of burning in our surroundings. Yes, it is a drawback to stay near crematoriums but I am living here for 7 years now, we never faced such problem. This time it can easily witnessed’.

People from Pune complained about the air pollution after which PMC (Pune Municipal corporation) decided to use white coal to reduce air pollution during the process. According to the information, municipal body has given permission to use white coal in every crematorium in the city that has reported 75 deaths per day due to Covid-19. Jay works in an IT firm and lives around the area of crematorium. He said, ‘It becomes difficult to feel fresh. It is like somebody is strangling you if I stand in my balcony for more than 15 minutes. Air pollution index is already unsuitable for people living in the country and is getting bad years by years and on the top of that, this is also adding up on the situation.’ According to the experts, usage of white coal helps in generating heat that will automatically cremation to finish faster and will lead to reduce the air pollution.

Meanwhile news from Ranchi is also coming where people living nearby specific areas are worried about environment pollution and contagious virus. Corpses of Covid patients are being cremated near ghat (pier) for more than a month now, which is creating problem for the residents, according to the information. In a statement given to Eat News by Ajay who resides in Ranchi, ‘It’s been more than weeks that they are doing mass cremation and along with rituals every morning and evening around ghat (pier). It is not only adding on to the air pollution but also water pollution as it is a part of ritual. In April, it was quite impossible for us to open doors as smoke was all around the corner. Government should do something in such exceptional case as, per day death records are not normal like before comparatively.’

Rajiv works in crematorium in Delhi. He told about the average per day cremations that took place in the past one month and how it affected them mentally and physically. He said, ‘Last two months have been quite hectic for crematorium workers. We are working tirelessly and try to finish it as soon as possible so that we can rush to other case. At one time we were getting minimum 70 dead bodies per day for the cremation and it was horrible.’ According to him, this whole situation gave them mental and physical pain. ‘The area uses to get covered from smoke for hours during those days. It was impossible to breathe. No doubt anybody can get sick due to the smoke. Plus, it is also making worse for people living nearby’, said Rajiv.

On sharing the PMC guideline of usage of white coal while cremation, to which he responded and said, ‘I have never heard about such technique, but if Pune is following it, that’s good. But again, it will reduce the time but cannot stop the release of harmful gases in the environment which is bad for humans.’ He described the current situation and said that it is much better from last few days. ‘Yes, the situation is now very much under control and now we are receiving less cases for the cremation. It is now minimum 7 or 8 in a week’, he said.

During the second wave of Covid 19 in India, New Delhi is one of the major hit cities and recorded countless deaths due to shortage of oxygen mainly. According to the data, the pollution level in first month of April 120 per cent higher than the last year April 2020, in New Delhi. Pandemic indeed is affecting lives in several other ways.

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Shefali Ranawat is an Eat News correspondent in India. She want to be the voice of people. Also, she aim to be a war correspondent.

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Eat News is a Taiwanese digital media, analyzes current events and issues through column articles, videos, visual aid, and exclusive interviews.

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