Companies push anti-pollution products as Delhi’s air quality worsens

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On Friday, the Delhi government declared a public emergency directing schools to remain closed till 5 November amid worsening air quality (AP file)

New Delhi: The national capital’s worsening air quality, now an annual occurrence, has pushed consumer goods makers to offer a host of products such as air purifiers, pollution masks, and immunity boosting supplements.

Dabur India Ltd, the maker of Real juices and Vatika hair oils, has been promoting its Ayurvedic supplement Chyawanprash over the last few days through both print and digital advertisements. The company had launched a similar campaign around the same time last year. “Our campaign has been prepared basis these (scientific) studies and we plan to build awareness about benefits of Dabur Chyawanprash through print and digital campaigns in Delhi-NCR,” said Prashant Agarwal, marketing head, health supplements, Dabur India Ltd.

On Friday, the Delhi government declared a public emergency directing schools to remain closed till 5 November amid worsening air quality. The capital’s air quality index deteriorated over the weekend, with Sunday recording alarming levels of pollution. On Sunday morning, Delhi’s air quality index (AQI) crossed 1,200 as a thick layer of smog enveloped the city and the neighbouring region prompting the government to advise citizens to stay indoors and avoid outdoor activity.

The Delhi government’s Odd-Even car rationing scheme also came into force on Monday, to help tackle vehicular emissions. The scheme will be in force from 4 November to 15 November.

On Monday, cab-hailing company Uber ran a campaign asking daily commuters use public transport apart from opting for Uber’s fleet of vehicles.

Meanwhile, more and more people have been sporting masks, with sales jumping over the weekend. A sales executive at pharmacy store in the South Delhi said “We’ve sold 500 plus masks (priced Rs200) over the last 2-3 days,” said a local sales executive.

“There is a general spike around this period for all similar products like air purifier, air pop mask etc,” said a spokesperson at Xiaomi that sells air pollution masks and purifiers. The company has a dedicated web page for solutions to counter everyday pollution.

North India’s pollution crisis has become an annual occurrence, with a spike in air pollutants during October-December. As a result, over the last few years, leading to huge demand for air purifiers.

Although the sales were flat in October as air remained relatively clear, sales surged late last week. “Sales of air purifier were up since Thursday,” said a senior executive at Croma. “Although compared to a year ago, sales in October were lower,” said Ritesh Ghosal, chief marketing officer at the electronics retailer.

“In September sales of purifiers were largely flat compared to a year ago period. October witnessed a surge in demand,” said Shashank Sinha, chief transformation officer, Eureka Forbes.

Even as companies continue to push pollution fighting products, going forward they plan to launch products to address health concerns that arise from long term exposure to toxic air.

Research firm Ipsos that helps companies across segments such as auto and healthcare innovate and test new products said queries around anti-pollution products have shot up. “Clients in India have highlighted that two broad themes will be key focus areas when they look at product innovation going forward: anti-plastic and anti-pollution,” said Anthony D’souza, executive director, Ipsos.

Sales of air purifiers spiked on online retailer Amazon. Between 31 October – 3 November, Amazon India saw a three-time surge in demand for air purifiers compared to a year ago period, according to data provided by the e-commerce retailer.