One of India’s no-frills airlines has expanded the range of masks available on board; in addition to one for oxygen, it will now give passengers masks to help cope with smog in the capital which recently hit toxic levels.
AirAsia India has started to hand out the anti-smog masks, free of charge, to those traveling to Delhi from large cities like Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Kolkata. The air in the Indian capital is so toxic that deadly particles – known as PM 2.5 – can reach deep into the lungs, causing cancer.
Now, masks will help passengers to protect themselves from pollution even after the flight, the airline told the Times of India, saying the innovation is about giving passengers “the best in-flight experience.”
The campaign, however, is limited in scope as it is set to run until the end of November.
— AirAsia Indian (@AirAsiaIndian) November 18, 2019
The low-cost airline isn’t the first company to seize on Delhi’s deteriorating air. Recently, “oxygen bars” have been spotted popping up across the city to help locals breathe more easily.
Customers pay between 299 and 499 rupees (around $4 to $7) for a 15-minute oxygen session, which features several fragrances such as orange, lavender, cinnamon, eucalyptus, lemongrass or peppermint.
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The city’s staggering smog levels are blamed on an increase in road vehicles, construction, and industrial activity as well as the burning of rubbish and crops outside the capital.
Municipal authorities, struggling with tackling pollution, introduced the use of cleaner fuel, restricted traffic during certain hours, and closed some of the dirtiest power plants, but they seem to be losing the fight as the air quality keeps worsening.
Earlier in November, Delhi was flagged as the most polluted major city in the world with an air quality index (AQI) of 527, according to an Air Visual ranking. This year, the air quality has been described as exceptionally bad, soaring to levels more than 20 times what the UN-run World Health Organization considers safe.
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