Monday, June 1, 2015

Breathing for India ??

The Sunday supplement dated 31st May,2015 of The New York Times  carried a shocking report on the threat faced by children in New Delhi. The NYT reporter who has spent three years in Delhi, himself faced the agony caused by air pollution in the National Capital of India.  The guys who simply jump from earth to heaven on seeing BBC's presentation of poverty in India and doing nothing should read this first.

Mr Gardiner Harris ,the Washington correspondent of the newspaper has narrated his personal suffering during his stay in Delhi. He describes the traffic in Delhi as " the World's most chaotic" and the journey at night as " the most frightening " when road signs remain    " largely ornamental"  According to him, " nearly half of Delhi's children have permanent lung damage." Without knowing the danger ahead of them,people burn some toxic material and an astringent cloud  spreads in the neighbourhood. It affects not only children but adults as well. They suffer " near constant headaches, sore throats,coughs and fatigue. It results into full- blown asthma in many children.

Mr Harris says further: " In some places in Delhi, the levels of fine particles that cause the most lung damage ,called PM 2.5 , routinely exceed 1000 in winter in part because some trash and other small fires are so common , according to scientists. In Beijing, P.M.2.5 levels that exceed 500 make international headlines. Here, levels twice that high are largely ignored."  He adds: " For much of the year , the Yamuna water would have almost no flow though Delhi, if not for raw sewage. Add in the packs of stray dogs, monkeys and cattle even in urban areas, and fresh excretions are nearly ubiquitous. Insects alight on these excretions and then on people or their food,sickening them. Most piped water here is contaminated. Poor sanitation may be a crucial reason nearly half of India's children are stunted." There is no wonder why the author's 8 year old child was a victim of asthma.

Many people assume that their job is over when they talk length and breadth on different types of Pollution on Environment Day. While it is generally felt that the discipline should come from top, the long wait for such an initiative has proved to be a gimmick which does nothing for the people. On the other hand no concrete steps have been provided to stop/slow the migration of people to Urban areas . The move to keep the surroundings clean was launched by the Government with the Prime Minister himself leading from the front. The brand ambassadors from film industry stood in front of the cameras for publicity and vanished later.  Therefore it is better to  revise the path of discipline as the one that can flow from the bottom to top. To be more precise, it can be demonstrated from village level where the pollution is not much. Once we achieve pollution free air,water and good sanitation in villages, others will follow suit. Let there be no famous personalities or politicians and the entire movement must be left to the people. In such a situation, people will realise the importance of a pollution free life, discuss among themselves and then find a workable solution.

While writing about the attitude of abandoning villages and rural temples, we have expressed our desire to call the retired persons to go back to their native villages. When every facility is made available now,there can not be any hesitation in going back to villages and lead a peaceful life. By remaining in Metros, it gives more pain to the swelling population which already faces poor accommodation,transport,polluted air and water.

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