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Air Pollution, the road ahead. Will using alternate number cars, no firecrackers in Diwali help?.


Intensity of air pollution has turned grim in India and world around. Deforested belts and challenging topography, puts a grotesque mask on the national capital every year in winters. Sustaining the morals of environmental compassion; our wheels of development must be turned from mere greed to climate’s heed. Guided by the wise words of Mahatma Gandhi-

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need; but not every man’s greed.”

Technological advancement has opened us doors of awareness; proper advertisement and information sharing led to whole hearted acceptance of the ‘ODD EVEN RATIONALISING policy’ also known as ‘alternate number vehicle system’. Achieving a temporary success with trails of defects; this systematic policy was not really helpful in long-run implementation as public grew ignorant, bestowing increase of cheaper, second-hand and much more pollution causing vehicles on road. On the other hand, limitations on firecrackers by decreasing its marketing and informing customers of benevolent Green Crackers, significantly made a difference this Diwali. The question yet arises on the sustainability of these impermanent laws and loose policy-making; that keeps the situation to recur.

A massive push is needed on forestation front. Modern methods like- Vertical Farming, Terrace Gardening etc. can be easily fitted within area-deficient cities. Fostering schemes like FAME-II and other such noble policies to subsidise the purchase of renewable energy run e-vehicles can curb about a quarter of total air pollution contributed by automobiles. SKYSCRAPPER SPRINKLERS and public transport encouragement are few applicable Chinese models to counter industrial fly-ashes and problems of road dust.

Stubble burning is one prominent reason accounted for air pollution in and around Delhi. Extending strategical solutions like- subsidising Seeder’s Machines, encouraging Integrated Organic Farming, Crop Rotation and modelling Nutri-farms; will not just solve problems of straw-burning but curtail the heavy use of water (by changing crop pattern) for agriculturally blessed farmers of Punjab and Haryana. The region once flourished with five major inundated rivers, now faces degraded water table with soil intoxicated of fertilizers and pesticides. Integrated Organic and Nutri farms are not only yield driven but tackles the heavy release of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium into the atmosphere by fertiliser industries. Using early-crop varieties by paddy farmers is another way to contain the pollution around winters.

Air pollution is menace to health, wealth and education; all at once. Rise of cardio-vascular diseases and stroke is a health alarm for every age patient. Perpetual closure of schools, colleges and universities have led to academic performance deterioration. Offices and workplaces remain shut for longer period has caused financial turbulence. Traversing Asian Brown Clouds as a result of aerosols and soot particles raises concerns for global warming thus climate change. Recent reports of school and office shutdown in Lahore-Pakistan is ripple effect of Delhi pollution.

India needs to tighten up its already existing plethora of environment-friendly schemes. The National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) must be meticulously worked upon and achieved by the 2024 target year. UJJWALA for domestic LPG supply, Natural Gas Act for public CNG buses and Renewable Energy Mission to promote solar, tidal and wind powerplants are few to enumerate. Opening doors for waste-management and recycling under Start-Up India to curtail carbon footprint by integral community efforts like Self Help Groups (SHG) or deploying Public Private Partnership models in city and district level will not only open employment opportunities but will also promote upskilling. An inclusion of ‘waste management-based renewable energy production’ in academic courses and Start-Ups will aggrandize India’s Research & Development area. Eco-Tourism promotion and domestic waste-management are but a part and parcel to Green-Economy contributions.

Sustainability is fundamental driving motive of rural India; it must be that villages and its age-old practices also contribute to the move. Keeping Sustainable Development Goal (2030) on forefront, we must also shift our take on infrastructural planning and fossil fuel burning. Carbon-Taxing from emission yielding vehicles and factories needs tougher regulations. Biogas promotion and maintenance in farms and villages needs to be scrutinized. Government should promote the National Action Plan on Climate Change by including school-college students and research scholars into the multi-dimensional world of energy environment and nature. Air pollution is globally a fundamental challenge, the bizarre be-naming “GAS CHAMBER” for nation’s capital is but a call for quick action. The inclusion of children will assure a future with much lighter air, brighter sunlight, pristine water and fertile land. As the ancient proverb says-

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

-NIVEDITA ROY

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