If you’re a Delhiite and happen to cross ITO area, you’ll see green colored boxes on dividers with WAYU printed on it. Do you know what they are?
These boxes are Wind Augmentation and Purification Units (WAYU) designed by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) in collaboration with IIT Bombay. It converts toxic pollutants like PM2.5 and PM10, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds into carbon dioxide using a filter. It can purify area up to 500 square meters around it.
While It felt so good to see efforts to curb air pollution, I realised to my dismay that, the devices were absent in other areas. Why so? Will those few green boxes be enough to combat the ill maladies of air pollution that afflicts all of us?. This thought immediately forced me to face the grim reality of our times, the era of chronic air pollution which has become a guiding factor of present time syndemic.
At this juncture I want to ask, do we really have the right to celebrate environment day with such enthusiasm when we live in such dystopian climatic crisis?
Reports by Lancet and WHO show that air pollution is causing fatal diseases which are resulting in around 7 million premature deaths in a year. Recently taken Geneva pledge by WHO to eliminate two-thirds of death caused by air pollution by 2030 is a testimony to this.
I would say even nomadic barbarians and dinosaurs were better off than us when it came to dealing with the environment. And the mind-boggling fact is that the answer to such crisis lies in our very own hands. Yet the responses have been far from satisfactory. I won’t repeat the same rhetoric of ‘high-ended’ solutions which are noble to sound but tough to follow. So I am suggesting some feasible solutions that will not only make our task of cleaning air an easy activity but a rewarding process as well.
There are some simple steps we can follow, without even having to make such a big change in our lifestyle, that will let us do our part in saving this planet we call home. More people should start carpooling and reduce vehicular emissions. The government can also reduce commutation fares to incentivize people to turn to public transportation, like the governments in Korea and Norway have done. Vehicle owners should also regularly check the pollution status of their vehicles, this will help reduce fossil fuel usage.
We should look into the environmental consequences of hawans and religious rituals, maybe look for alternatives when we can. All of us should take the initiative to plant more trees. The concept of ‘Kitchen garden’ which has been encouraged even by former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri should be seen as a viable solution. I think it will not only increase green coverage but also help tackle food security.
We must minimise our use of air conditioners. We have become addicted to these machines and don’t realise that they emit a heavy amount of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). We should also be careful about what appliances we use, and make sure to see the star energy label on them. I also think companies must make corporate environmental responsibility a mandatory task (on the lines of corporate social responsibility).
Another good idea for us to take on would be to create homemade air purifiers from household items. This will be a simple, cheap and environmentally conscious step for us to take.
It’s high time we pulled ourselves up by the bootstraps and take action to save our planet from the crisis we have ourselves created. I have personally planted over twenty plants in one month & turned to public transportation. We as citizens need to play our part too, because if we don’t do our bit soon enough then,
“Shroud of diseases
will bury us underneath,
If we don’t change
The very air we breath.”