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The air we breathe on World Environment Day 2019 and everyday

June 5, 2019
Del pollution Nov.2016

Air pollution in Dehi circa Nov. 2016 ©Rohith Roy

< 3 mins read Approx. 320 words

The context:

On World Environment Day 2015 today, June 05, the call to action is to focus on air pollution.

Air pollution has been increasingly being linked to life threatening conditions like cancers, strokes and heart disease, in addition to respiratory problems such as asthma. Evidence shows that both urban and rural areas in the world are facing severe air pollution because of

  • rapidly expanding industries,
  • forest fires
  • burning of stubble by farmers in developing countries
  • the burning of fossil fuels (for cooking, lighting energy and others)
  • an exponential and unchecked increase in vehicular traffic.

Personal context:

2016 was my last year to visit India, and my most beloved city of Delhi, during Diwali with my family (see the above pic). Stubble burning by farmers in north Indian states of Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab and U.P. combined with pollution from firecrackers of Diwali, formed such a toxic soup that my family almost chocked to death. We have vowed never to visit Delhi during the month of Diwali. Visibility was zero and the entire city came to a grinding halt. When discussed with the locals in Delhi, the response was that they were used to this air pollution and it didn’t bother them any longer!

The Indian government tried to use anti smog water cannon to combat the toxic air pollution in the nation’s capital, Delhi, though it’s only a band-aid solution and not long-term measure.

In conclusion:

At an individual level we can do a lot everyday to help combat air pollution. Simple steps such as taking the mass transit, biking, walking, planting air cleaning household plants and others could help improve our local ecosystems. These measures combined with strict implementation of environmentally friendly policies and investments in cleaner alternatives are the need of hour and will go a long way to #beatairpollution.

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