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In Session: Breathing Well: Breath, Body, and Air in India
3: Exposing Breath: Transmissions of the Virus and Air Pollution in New Delhi
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
8:30am – 10:00am EDT
Shiv Nadar University, India
Air pollution advocacy in New Delhi is linked to exposure science that quantifies the adverse effects on humans from contact and concentration of materials suspended in air (such as particulate matter) over a period of time, which cross into the porous body through breath. With the Covid-19 lockdown in India exposure was re-interpreted and attention called to breath, given that we (humans) have exposed ourselves to both air pollution and the virus through our own actions. As bodies continue to breathe, different types of exposure management regimes proliferate as while both particulate matter and the virus can be contracted through breath, they transmit differently. This is further complicated in that exposure to the virus or air pollution imbue class distinctions unevenly depending on people’s ability to access different types of infrastructure. Relatedly the state’s attempt to balance the increasing pressure on the health system and the need to allow people to work and travel for economic sustenance adds to the way in which exposure regimes evolve. In addressing these issues, this paper will ask what types of particularities of bodies unfold thorough the management of exposure to the virus and particulate matter in New Delhi. The re-inscription of bodies will be brought out in how with the fall and increase in air pollution levels in the city due to implementing and lifting the Covid – 19 lockdown progressed along with evolving science that made new claims on the means of exposure to the virus.