Content, Idea and Concept by: Lipi Bag, Blog Team-TOHRI
Edited by: Vidusshi Pathak, Intern, Blog Team-TOHRI
The gruesome shriek of the women gave me heart palpitations. I immediately stopped the video on my phone. The horrifying scenes of the cars crashing at the Yamuna Expressway on a not so wintry-morning, pained my lungs. It was the deadly fog which engulfed the whole city. In the past few months the pollution in Delhi has indeed created a ruckus in the lives of ordinary people. Perhaps, it was the first time that I wondered why I took admission in a Delhi college. I remember how one of my friends joked, “Breathing the Delhi air is like smoking ten cigarettes a day, so why not add one more to it!” To add to this, my laptop read from one of the E-newspapers, “the deadly level of carcinogenic pollutants in Delhi’s air was roughly 10 times the reading in Beijing.”
Last year when the thick envelop of pollution covered the city of Delhi, forcing the schools to shut down; we readily blamed it on the ever accused ‘Diwali crackers’. However, this year the conditions weren’t the same. The Government had put a ban on crackers, and the pollution was also caused by agri residue burning in Punjab and Haryana. Nevertheless, the persisting situation continues to gnaw at us, as we head towards this plethora of toxic air.
So what went wrong this year?
Perhaps the answer lies deep inside us. We can play the blame game on the government all our lives, but would it yield any result if we don’t work on it ourselves? Even after the ban, it was seen that people were burning crackers.
In the past, when the Delhi Government tried to implement the Odd and Even Scheme, despite the minor problems, it was really beneficial. Car pools were taken into consideration, and Delhi started understanding the gravity of the situation, as it seemed. But if we look under the layers of newspaper, we come across the irony of the fact that there were people who started cars with both even and odd numbers! How do we even escape the tragedy when we ourselves seem to be inviting them?
How will the learnings from ‘Environmental Science books’ be put to use, when we don’t practise them in our daily lives. For what’s worth, one of the small steps could be that of planting a tree every year. The increase in population, thereby increasing the construction of buildings does come across as a vital problem, but we have to fight it by educating ourselves against the growing tentacles of population. Last but not the least, we need to stop asking for excuses like ‘Please let the women drive pass through the Odd-Even scheme, just like another reservation. No! If we’re barely making it to our workplace or college (because of the poisonous air), there’s no use asking for such reservations. Stop, and think for once as a social human being, and not as individual seeker with any particular gender perspective, for that could be the beginning of the change.