ByÂ Umika Sharma:
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”
The blame game for the latest smog hit capital of India, Delhi, has again started. The Chief Minister says that it’s the result of burning straw in neighbouring states. Then these states take offence and say that they are not responsible. Ultimately, the CSE (Centre for Science and Environment) warns that it is the result of increase in vehicular pollution in the city, in which 60% of the vehicles are diesel-run and are contributing larger than ever levels to the city’s pollution.
It seems that everybody around us is passing the ball to each other to justify the smog but nobody in reality is looking for the possible reasons and probable solutions. The omnipresent smog at the onset of winter is not a recent phenomenon but in fact an old story. With the coming of the winter, the fog envelops the city like a blanket.
Delayed flights, road accidents, increase in respiratory problems etc. are just some of the after effects of this fog. But this year the fog has come with a different kind of gloom. It is literally choking the city and pulling the life out of it. Our city can hardly breathe. The level of pollutants this year has increased manifold and the Diwali celebrations aggravated it further.
Environmentalists are blaming high levels of air pollution in the city for triggering the smog. The recent levels of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) were 811 in RK Puram and 760 in Punjabi Bagh meanwhile the standard level is 80 micrograms/ cubic meter. In a city where its growing population is adding thousands of vehicles each day, the pollution levels are spiralling out of control. The steps taken by the government are just not enough to curb this level of pollution. Even the Supreme Court of India took note of the smog in the city and said that they will directly look into the matter.
This high level of pollution also affects the health of its citizens. Asthma attacks, allergies and respiratory troubles are some of the problems created by this smog. Pollution is a global level menace and needs immediate attention of the authorities and people alike. As citizens, we all should resort to public transport and do our part of not contributing to increasing pollution. We should also realize that when we buy a brand new diesel-run car to save a few bucks on petrol we, with our own hands are ultimately choking our city.
As for the authorities, they should take immediate steps to curb this menace and formulate strict guidelines for people to follow. Vehicles with high emission levels should not be allowed inside the city. It is high time we realize that our city needs us otherwise we might as well prepare for using masks to breathe in this city.