Sustaining the Environment is a Collective Responsibility

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The attitude of caring towards nature shall not be reduced into a momentary response but should be an integral component of our lives. It is our life choices and consumption trends that determine the ecological future of the collective known as humankind.

Editorial Staff

Image Source : The New Leam Staff

Diwali is around the corner and so is the excitement amongst the masses-people are shopping, decorating and inviting guests for Diwali parties. People tend to celebrate this festival with sweets, new bright clothes, flowers, beautiful rangolis, diyas and crackers, although we Indians do go a little overboard when we celebrate, there is little extra to everything that we do.

While the rest of it is fine, the excessive usage of crackers is not something which is appreciated and is also not suitable for the environment. Post-Diwali a blanket of smog continues to pollute the air for days, making the lives of people difficult. Thus what is done with the purpose of celebrating turns out to become the root cause of our suffering. The excessive use of crackers is not only harmful for ecology but for human beings as they lead to respiratory disorders.

Delhi continues to suffer acute levels of air pollution, even without the festival season. It was in 2014 that the WHO declared Delhi as one of most polluted cities of the world. Even after having a relatively greener environment Delhi continues to suffer till today, and even after knowing the poor air condition of the city no law maker has thought of a long term plan to deal with the situation.

Delhi’s air quality is affected by several reasons and vehicular pollution is the most common among them, apart from that other sources of pollution like CFC, HFCs, industrial pollution and construction activities around the city continue to contribute to increasing the pollution level of the city.

One of the major sources of pollution affecting Delhi is stubble burning, which is a practice persistent in neighbouring states like Haryana and Punjab and farmers burn paddy straws after harvest to clear the field.  But how does that affect the pollution level of Delhi?

So the time when stubble burning is practiced is around the month of October. This is also the duration when the flow of the easterly winds from eastward direction to the northeast direction is a predominant feature of the climate.

Thus the wind carrying the smog gathered due to stubble burning from Haryana, Punjab reaches Delhi and in turn affects the air quality of the city.  Farmers are not aware of any other method and stubble burning is often practiced. The state has not cultivated any innovative technology to equip them and therefore they still continue with this practice.

Delhi’s air pollution is not a new discovery; it has been an area of concern since quite long. Environment and climate change has been an on-going crisis but yet we do not tend to understand the importance of sustainable living.

 Every summer as soon as we reach home, we would want to switch on the AC, drink water from the refrigerator and when we venture outside, we drive our air conditioned vehicles. Appliances like air conditioners, refrigerators and vehicles that rely on fossil and non-fossil fuels are all generating forms of pollution that can be massively struck down if each one of us desires.

I remember my grandmother used to make cooling drinks like Aam Panna or Nimbu Pani after we returned back after playing in the heat during summers. It was always advised to consume things like buttermilk, fruits and vegetables like cucumber with high water content to balance the water level of the body and control the body temperature. Perhaps all these practices have begun to fade away with time in the hustle bustle of the city as we become more and more dependent on technology.

Earthen pots to store water and sprinkling of water on terraces that had rooms below in order to bring down temperatures worked as environmentally stable means of handling summer heat. Today our over dependence on technological appliances has heightened our capability to hurt nature.

The Delhi government has come up with an action plan to control pollution but if we look at it closely it is a short term plan. The problem is rooted and wide and hence it is required to construct a long term plan to deal with the situation and also climate change or pollution control is not something towards which only the state is required to devise a solution, it is also the individual’s responsibility. It is through the collective participation of the state and the people that we can arrive at an ecologically mature and conducive way of leading our lives.

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