By Tanisha Tyagi
Post-Diwali (cracker bursting season of India), several parts of Delhi and NCR witnessed its worst smog in nearly 17 years. We thought it was temporary. We were sitting in our living rooms, watching the news on our television sets, thinking,
“Ah, it’ll go away. Good thing I didn’t burst any crackers. I am officially not part of this.”
And the moment your mom sent you out to get bread and milk; BAM! You knew.
You’re thinking, “Just what I was afraid of…exactly why I chose not to burst crackers.”
Because some of us learnt that air pollution in India kills 1.5 million people every year. We learnt that bursting crackers creates more chaos than it brings happiness in other people’s lives, and because…it is common sense not to use them.
But the moment you stepped out of your house, you knew how terrible it had become, your throat would run dry and you’d cough until you were half sitting on the streets, with one hand to your chest, wondering if there’s a history of respiratory illness in your family.
And with an increase in haze and pollution, our indignation grew too, when people were STILL bursting crackers.
Now again, the pollution levels remain hazardous, air quality index (AQI) has dropped to a severe 410. Air pollution is India’s fifth largest killer. Yet the authorities seem unbothered and languid about this terrible situation.
Isn’t it an all time classic?
Dead slow in their process of justice and change when it comes to the common man, almost always, no severe actions but empty words which make everyone suffer.
Yes, of course there is no paucity of plans to tackle the pollution in the capital, but what the system lacks is expeditious implementation of those plans. Some measures and agenda released by MoEF, on which absolutely NO action has been taken are as follows:
- Strict action against visibly polluting vehicles.
- Steps to prevent parking of vehicles in the non-designated areas.
- Immaculate system for lane driving.
- Pot-hole/Man-hole free roads to ensure less traffic and less emission of dust particles.
- Use of LPG in place of coals in roadside dhabas and restaurants or wherever feasible.
- Greenery in open areas, community places and schools.
- Action plan to check fuel quality/fuel adulteration.
- Alarm system for traffic congestion on major routes.
Targets should be made after the plans on “how to attain them”, to solve this environmental crisis.
It’s utterly devastating to note that none of the elected members are mature enough to take responsibility. These authorities should come up with emergency plans and ensure that there’s effective implementation of them, which should be the key focus.
Also, we as citizens should not forget to do our part even though the authorities are floundering with theirs. There’s a lot that we all can do to reduce air pollution and it has been dinned into our heads since school days. So this is the least we SHOULD do for our environment:
- Carpool/ Public transport/Use of Bicycles. Vehicles cause immense amount of pollution. So, encourage your family and friends to use public transport and not take vehicles to markets which are close by and in your neighbourhood.
- Plant trees in your locality. I’ve always been annoyed at my mother for stopping at nurseries every time we’re out. Right now, my house has plants in its every nook and corner and it’s a real reliever. House plants are said to reduce levels of formaldehyde at home. So please, plant trees, small or large or gargantuan! Just do it, because it matters.
- Switch of all lights and fans if not required. Being the last person in a room comes with a huge responsibility even if it looks small. Take it. Be responsible.
- Reduce the use of indoor pollutants such as candles, incense sticks, air fresheners and irritating perfumes.
All in all, the less energy that you use, the better off it will be. Do at least one of these actions every day. Once you inculcate yourself with these dainty habits, you’ll realize how something so small is capable of making such a great change.
Take action before Delhi is too far gone.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.