On the 5th of June every year, we flood our social media stories and timelines with suggestions and concerns for our polluted environment. The validity of our concerns and stories are pretty much the same and they usually don’t last beyond 24 hours.
What happens the next day? We go back to our same routine and do absolutely nothing, barring a few instances where we whine about the pollution and direct our tirade towards the government for their inaction and apathy about it all.
India has been synonymous with pollution and this isn’t a foreign stereotype, but a parallel invented and perpetuated by us who term clean and hygienic places as ‘India lagega hi nahi’ (It won’t look like India).
As a result of the “efforts” of some people, coupled with a lack of active intervention by the government towards growing air pollution, Indian cities have catapulted themselves towards the “prestigious” position among the most polluted cities of the world. This is according to a recent study by AirVisual and Greenpeace, which showed a staggering 7 out of 10 of the most polluted cities of the world are in India.
Thankfully, this generation doesn’t need cigarettes to die slowly, Delhi’s flawless air does the job in even less time.
Pollution is so severe that it warrants an absolute emergency mode response from the government, media and people alike.
But, Dhoni’s controversial gloves are given prime time debating slots. TRP hungry media ignores these burning issues which are slowly killing thousands of lives, instead focuses on juvenile and irrelevant issues.
The general public has so far shown minuscule interest in this important issue, largely due to their ignorance and lack of technical knowledge about it. The government ignores it because it sees less scope of doing mass politics with these issues.
Interestingly, when India surpassed China’s record in building the highest statues, China was busy building the world’s largest air purifier in Xian, which measured 100 metres in height.
Clearly, India has set its priorities right.
This national crisis is a national emergency and it deserves to be treated like one. The cost of overlooking this crisis will be paramount. It requires urgent attention from every nook and corner of society. People, media and government have to come together in tackling this imminent disaster.
We all have grown up writing long essays on how to tackle air pollution, so as to spare you from the same typical format, I propose a three-way approach to effectively tackle this.
• Improve industrial and vehicular emission standards
• Regular dust control
• Strict compliance of environmental legislation
• Denial of industrial setups near populated areas
• Energy efficiency standards for industries.
• Research and large scale production and distribution of economical air purifiers
• Shifting towards public transport
• Adopting cleaner fuels
• Solid waste management
• The devotion of considerable airtime of media channels for educating people about this impending crisis and guiding them in tackling it.
• Debates and discussions about this during prime time debates.
• Strict enforcement of bans on open burning of household waste, agricultural wastes, etc and social awareness among people about ills of it.
• Adopting cleaner fuels for cooking and heating.
• Shifting towards eco-friendly vehicles and public transport.
• Buying air purifiers for homes.
• Spreading awareness about air pollution.
• Keeping car, boat, and other engines properly tuned.
These are a few steps towards ensuring a cleaner future. It’s about time, we stop preaching and start working. Let’s get out of our comfort zones and work for a cleaner environment by doing our bit.
This world doesn’t need armchair activists, it needs doers and changemakers.
Let’s change this environment and breathe freely.
This post was awarded a second place in the first ever Youth Ki Awaaz #BolDaal contest, #PollutionKeSolution. With 500+ views and 170+ upvotes, it was shortlisted in the top 10 entries received, and then selected by an expert panel as the first runner up. Congratulations, Ausaf Momin on championing the change with your Awaaz!