ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Air That Took My Mother’s Breath Away

A climate scholar weaves a critique of environmental policy with a personal tragedy in light of the toxic levels of air pollution in Delhi.

A previous version of this article appeared in the Wire Science on 2 July 2020.

Earlier this year, my mother passed away due to the air pollution crisis in Delhi. My young, beautiful, energetic mother at 63 was diagnosed with carbon dioxide narcosis, also known as carbon dioxide poisoning, and put on a ventilator in the intensive care unit at Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Delhi.

She retired in 2016 as a nurse at this same hospital where she worked diligently for 18 years. She thoroughly enjoyed her work and always considered it an act of Christlike service, treating patients with kindness, providing medical care and words of comfort when oft needed. My mother had just returned from Canada a month earlier in January after her six-month visit to my sister’s place and mine ended. She had a 10-year temporary resident visa with multiple entries allowing her to stay in the country for six months at a time. In Canada, we played with snow, drank warm apple cider in -20°C and attended outdoor Christmas events. Naturally, the quality of air in Canada was better suited for such al fresco activities.

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Updated On : 2nd Dec, 2020
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