Heat Waves in India unleash deadly contaminant

Heat Waves in India unleash deadly contaminant

Incredibly high temperatures are sweeping across Indian cities, in the process creating hotspots of Ozone pollution.

India is no stranger to pollution, with consistent warnings being given to the population by experts globally, regarding the tight living quarters in cities such as Delhi, and the overwhelming levels of toxins being released from various vehicles in the busy streets.

A lesser-known, but incredibly deadly contaminant is often overlooked by professionals when discussing pollution in the country – ozone.

Ozone is created when small particles or droplets of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds such as benzene – which is found in gasoline – react under high heat and sunlight. Recent Heat Waves sweeping across India and its crowded cities have led to an increase in the formation of Ozone, demanding a response from health professionals in the area.

“Even an hour of exposure can give you very poor health outcomes,” says Avikal Somvanshi, a researcher at the Center for Science and Environment in New Delhi.

A 2022 study estimates that ozone killed more than 400,000 people worldwide in 2019, up 46 per cent since 2000. And according to the State of Global Air Report 2020, it is in India where the number of ozone deaths has increased the most over the past decade.

Fire & Safety teams in the region must be prepared for individuals to require immediate respiratory recovery and be aware themselves of pollutants in the air affecting their ability to operate.