Stubble Burning May Be Part Of The Pollution Problem: But Why Ignore Other Causes?

WhyOnEarth logo mobEditor’s Note: Are you bothered by the drastic changes in our climate, causing extreme weather events and calamities such as the Kerala Floods? #WhyOnEarth aims to take the truth to the people with stories, experiences, opinions and revelations about the climate change reality that you should know, and act on. Have a story to share? Click here and publish.

That which doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger cannot be said about the growing amount of pollution in the Northern part of India. The statistics paint a rather gory image of what we inhale now. While I write this article and breathe simultaneously, I might have already been subjected to smoke equivalent to smoking a cigarette.

While the capital faces the wrath of burning incidents taking place elsewhere, it is hard to believe that the hue and cry rest only on one factor. Geographically speaking, when the surrounding air is cold, and the atmosphere is already contaminated with PM, then the site of smog is a common phenomenon. And that is the exact reason why we’re unable to see clearly with our naked eyes, both literally and metaphorically. The problem of stubble burning is huge but is NOT the single problem creator.

Being the capital, Delhi has been garnering all the attention, and so has the case of stubble burning, but what about the supporting actors? What about the incessant trying/buying/running of vehicles? Easier said than done, a ban was put on stubble burning, but can we put the same ban on the fuel usage of cars that run on Delhi roads?

Public transport already runs on CNG, but can we put an overnight ban on private cars that use petrol and diesel, without providing a clear alternative? Can we just forget about justice here? No! What purpose does it serve to put an overnight ban on the stubble burning of the farmers, without providing them with an alternative? Especially now, when its already time to prepare those fields for the Rabi season. Are we prepared to face the wrath, in case the crops don’t have the expected yield, and India being an agricultural economy, suffers?

Aren’t we the same people who use air conditioners, spray deodorants, light incense sticks, use non-biodegradable sanitary napkins, burn the trash which we should have otherwise disposed of at a safer dumping ground? We celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi with much furore and despite knowing how pollution is already spreading, still, immerse the idols made of POP in the water bodies. We use the train’s washroom while it is still standing at the platform, and then close our noses when we get a foul smell in and around the station.

Well, to say the least, we are not just hypocrites, but also, the idea of our ideal development is pretty underdeveloped.

The dais has been with Delhi for quite some time now; it’s time we make a shift and turn our heads to other small, yet significant cities, where the recorded levels of AQI as per the CPCB has been even higher than what was witnessed in Delhi.

Majorly, we need to understand, that it isn’t a competition, where we should be competing for “Who’s got the higher AQI?”. Rather, we should devise ways of curbing the menace of pollution, irrelevant if it’s land, air, water or light. Pollution is pollution and its causing harm to us, and to our future generation, through us.

Image Courtesy

In 1986, Chernobyl was termed a disaster, because catastrophic changes were witnessed, and history has already painted a rather gloomy image of what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In 1984, the Bhopal Gas tragedy had no parallel in the world’s industrial history. Today, though we don’t have a specific name to address it, we can sure see the inordinate effects of the same. Pollution is not a monthly problem; it is long-lived, it grows with us.

Stubble burning is only a catalyst that has aggravated it, and that needs to be addressed, but that is not just the only activity which needs to be addressed. We need to come together, come up with solutions for the year, and not just a season or a month. Do you think smog is the only problem? Don’t you think rising temperatures, extreme winds that cause dust and dander, extreme floods, and droughts also need to be addressed? What about the contamination of water that entire the NCR region supplies in its pipeline, and is often used for bathing and cooking purposes, the tarnished Taj Mahal, the spoiled Ganga water, and Yamuna river, which was once a holy river and is now just a drain? And can we ignore the staggering amount of traffic on the roads every day, and the continuous blaring of horns in and around all cities, mass extinction of species and forest fires? These aren’t a problem?

We all sure can be ‘Alice in Wonderland’, but we know what happened to Alice, she fell for a lie and landed herself in trouble.

I quote Sunderland Bahuguna, “The solution of present-day problems lies in the re-establishment of a harmonious relationship between man and nature. To keep this relationship permanent, we will have to digest the definition of real development: development is synonymous with culture. When we sublimate nature in a way that we achieve peace, happiness, prosperity and, ultimately, fulfilment along with satisfying our basic needs, we march towards culture.”

Similar Posts

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below