Delhi has been engulfed with a toxic smog for more than a week now with the air pollution level soaring to a dangerous low. We might blame it on the festival of lights but the state capital woke up to horrendously poor air quality about a week before the official cracker burning day. 

And it is not just Delhi, the hazardously toxic smog that has been referred to as the worst in the past 17 years, has also impacted the surrounding areas. There has been a significant rise in the number of people facing pollution-related health ailments. 

Source: b'Source:PTI'

Even as people are struggling to prevent breathing in polluted air with their masks out and air purifiers in place, there is something they might have inadvertently overlooked - the impact of it on food being cooked/served uncovered or essentially the street food. 

While we carelessly gorge on street food with our pollution masks on, we are forgetting that the food being cooked and served in the open cannot be completely free of the effect of pollutants in the air. 

Nidhi Sawhney, a Delhi based nutritionist told ScoopWhoop "Environmental pollutants like airborne chemicals in dust, vehicular and industrial discharge and accumulated waste contaminates the food exposed to open environment. And consuming such food can have adverse effect on your health."

"Depending on the source and level of contamination, the effects of contaminated food can cause symptoms such as cramps, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, nerve damage, allergies and paralysis."

While food-borne infection affects people from all age groups, it can have severe implication for babies, elderly people, pregnant women and people with vulnerable immune systems. 

"While it is advisable to avoid street food for as long as the situation persists, if you do choose to indulge make sure that the food you are consuming is freshly prepared and immediately consumed since that minimizes the amount of accumulated dust." said Nidhi. 

Source: b'Source: AFP'

"Also ensure that the raw material is being kept in closed containers because food ingredients being exposed to polluted air just negates the whole idea having it before dust is allowed to settle on it."

Delhi is famously known for its street food with multiple street food eateries catering to the insatiable appetites making the fact that it is now extremely unsafe for consumption hard to digest. Not that it was any safer before. 

Akanksha Verma, a student of IIMC Delhi, said "This is the worst thing to happen to someone who thrives on street food. But i am avoiding eating at open places. The effect of pollution on anything uncovered is evident and it will only be stupid to not refrain."

(Feature image source: AFP)