Deepa Tampi worries a lot about the air her two children breathe. The garment exporter says she believes her 14-year-old daughter Mahika and 12-year-old son Vihaan both became asthmatic because of high levels of pollution in the New Delhi area.
She has banned them from playing outdoors, and has even moved their schools twice in four years so that they can use indoor sports facilities. When there is a toxic haze covering the Indian capital - as has been the case in recent days - she makes sure air purifiers are running at home and in the car, and when the kids do go outside they wear masks.
“Every year, we gasp through the winter months, armed with oral steroids, inhalers and nebulisers,” she said.
“I have robbed my children of a very simple pleasure in life - being outdoors. Mahika was an athlete and Vihaan loved playing football, but to protect their health, they had to trade these for indoor activities like table tennis and dance.”
The family paediatrician has suggested they leave the Delhi area because of the kids’ asthma, Tampi said, and in the past they have even considered emigrating. But a big change like that is not easy when she is running a business and her husband is a partner at a law firm.
Indians walk to work as Delhi traffic police officers manage an intersection enveloped by smoke and smog, on the morning following Diwali festival in New Delhi, India, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. AP
An Indian mother puts a mask to her son a day after Diwali festival in New Delhi, India. (AP)