“Todays headline –Pollution Kills 2 Indians Every Minutes.” Don’t know how they got that number but considering our population its still very low for us to wakeup.
There was a news-section on one of the channels dedicated to pollution data of all major north Indian cities today and it showed that Delhi has come down to 7th position where Lucknow and Kanpur have particulate levels much higher than Delhi. Both of these cities are dear to me as one is my birth place other is place of my enlightenment-my higher education.
Few days back one highly recognized self made environmentalist of national capital Delhi , told media that both the governments state and center have failed to reduce pollution and the courts have stepped in. He very seriously pointed out that elected governments are the ones responsible to clean the air for us.
Isn’t it similar to saying that there are people chosen by tradition to clean our shit-‘our manual scavenger.” This attitude is embedded inside every Indian and is a part of our DNA now. Taking responsibility for our actions is not encouraged in the our society. How we escape our responsibility ? We overuse. Infact overconsumption should be made a fundamental right in the constitution. Every environmental problem arises from overconsumption. We overuse air,water soil in the name of work, investment, farming, festivals and religion.
Being a poor country where 90% people don’t pay taxes brings in lack of responsibility. A basic human behavior is to overuse and misuse anything for which they have not paid for directly. Any civic rule broken is blamed on ones destiny easily. Poor is allowed to litter, break traffic rules and pollute environment for their livelihood. Auto rickshaws/taxis are allowed to introduce thick black smoke to the environment as the poor owner cannot change or service the vehicle. Slum areas are always full of garbage and they keep on burning it regularly. Defecating in the open is everywhere. If authorities try to take action, which is seldom, there is a huge protest. I don’t see any solution to this problem as long as the poor friendly attitude exists or all people are not taxed.
We don’t carpool and blame lack of public transport. Every organization should make mandatory for its employees to carpool. Its much better than public transport. This has to come from us and not government .
Then comes the selfish attitude. Everyone wants to invest in many properties due to which construction work never stops. And the funny thing is that people leave these properties empty due to the renting hassle. Due to construction we loose green cover, lots of water and clean air.
This happened with beautiful Lucknow which boasts of 6 CSIR institutes since 1950’s and 60’s, As the construction work increased Lucknow lost its green cover in front of my eyes in the 25 years I spent there. Though the population has a majority of highly educated middle class people but they forgot their responsibilities. Over consumption took over this charming and peaceful city to make it more polluted than Delhi now.
Another bad effect of it is – less money in banks for economic growth. When coffers are empty government is forced to hold onto our cash like the present demonetization. Was listening to a person heading a big bank today that huge cash has flown in. Its government’s responsibility now not to misuse it for lending it to known defaulters.
Selfish farmers is a new breed who want to avoid extra work and burn their crop but don’t know that their extra work can fetch them more money if they sell the agricultural waste for production of ethanol or simply for composting.
Then comes religious fanaticism and I am ready to get my head chopped off for anything and every thing is allowed in the name of religion in India and questioners are sent to their death.
Prayers to funerals all cause air, water, noise and soil pollution in their current Avatars. And this is not restricted to any single faith. Government cant do anything here for the fear of unrest. The understanding and change has to come from within.
All social changes like Martine Luther, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar and Mahatma Gandhi came from the same system. No one wants to listen to outsiders. Its our responsibility to change our attitudes first then blame others.
This DNA cleansing is required on priority basis. Some mutations are already taking place. Like the group of people in all major cities who quietly clean and paint small areas near there home/offices while on the way to work. They are not putting it away as government’s responsibility. In their own words ” We believe in direct action, with a common-sense problem-solving approach. We do not finger-point or blame the system. We aim to make a change from within – one that sustains because everyone wants it and is comfortable with it.”
I like their work and wonder when such group will form to reduce air pollution and factors causing it.