What can be done to people suffering from serious respiratory problems? You increase the level of oxygen given to them. What if they are made to live in a no-oxygen surrounding? Will they survive? Undoubtedly, no.
Now substitute the ailing patients with the city of Delhi. The same thing is happening to it. Today, Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world. The population is increasing at a rapid rate and so is the pollution, mainly due to harmful gases damaging the quality of air above the city. While it has still not recovered from the severe smog crisis that clouded it only a few months ago, it is being subjected to much worse conditions.
New Delhi needs a green cover that can absorb all the pollutants and the harmful substances in the environment. It needs a healing touch – a protective layer that can filter the toxins out of the air the residents breathe. But what is being planned is the stark opposite of this. In fact, the plan is to deprive the city of whatever greenery it has.
The city is being subjected to development works that may cause its environmental health to deteriorate further. Around 17,000 trees have been planned to be cut in south Delhi to make space for development and accommodation for central government employees.
Pollution and its effects pile up quickly in any environment, but it takes years for the air to finally be cleaned. The only solution to bring back this city from the ‘pollution swamp’ is greenery. There is the need for an ‘oxygen cover’ to diminish the harmful effects of the pollutants being released continuously in the air. But instead of planting trees that can improve the air quality in the city, Delhi is being subjected to deforestation.
This decision has again triggered the debate of environment versus development.
Whether those establishments and development projects are necessary or not is a relative issue. It may be of the utmost importance from the authorities’ point of view, but is useless when we look at the issue from the residents’ perspectives. These residents are living a difficult life, suffering badly from the smoke, smog and pollution every day.
We all agree that development is necessary – and in Delhi, the capital of the country, it is imperative indeed. But it is equally important to ensure that people can actually live in the city. If the city is beyond any living condition, the development will have no value over the years.
The conditions of the city (which suffers a bout of cough every time festivals like New Year and Diwali approach) make it vital for the city to be refurbished with plants and trees. Under no circumstance should it be deprived of its green cover.
If an apocalypse is indeed scheduled, it will definitely start from polluted, congested and suffocating places like Delhi.
Before such a drastic step is taken, the effects of such a move (especially on ailing patients) should be considered. In fact, the matter should be pondered upon, twice.
The authorities should seriously think a hundred times before taking such a step, which will gradually paralyse the city with its poisonous gases and pollutants, in the absence of any vegetation to suck them out.
Update: The Green Court has put a hold on the redevelopment project till July 19, 2018.
Featured image used for representative purposes only.