Scourge of smog in Delhi should be an eye-opener

Scourge of smog in Delhi should be an eye-opener

Crores of people living in Delhi and the National Capital Region are facing severe threat to their health...

Crores of people living in Delhi and the National Capital Region are facing severe threat to their health from heavy smog which appears unlikely to retreat in the next few days.

What is unfortunate is that there appears to be no seriousness or long-term action plan either from the Central government or the State government to overcome this problem.

What is more unfortunate is that even political parties do not seem to be pitching in to find solutions to pollution in Delhi which is a perpetual problem which needs to be looked upon as a serious issue not only by the governments but also by the citizens of the city.

Perhaps the Congress and other Opposition parties are viewing this major issue purely from political angle. They perhaps feel that if the Centre and the State fail to reduce pollution levels, they can make it an issue during the election or even otherwise.

The Congress which happens to be the major Opposition party and has its headquarters in Lutyens' Delhi also does not seem to have thought it fit to consider this as a major issue.

The party which has been struggling to revive its political fortunes should have taken up this issue and launched a massive campaign in each of the localities of Delhi on what the citizens should do if they want to survive.

It should have come up with an action plan - one for the citizens and another for the government - and taken to task both the Centre and the State for having failed to find solution to this problem which has been affecting the quality of life in Delhi for over a decade if not more.

According to studies, dust has emerged as a major contributor to air pollution. Unpaved roads and digging activities for various infrastructural construction expose the loose soil, contributing heavily to pollution which causes adverse impact on the health of the common man.

According to a senior official in the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), dust pollution and waste burning, which includes plastic and dry leaves, is a serious concern for the department.

The study by Sambhavi Shukla, Centre of Science and Environment, a TERI-ARAI published in 2018 showed that transport contributed 39 per cent, road dust 18 per cent, construction activities 8 per cent, followed by power plants 11 per cent to the air pollution in Delhi.

The study also documented the data in the National Capital Region - 12 per cent transport, industries 23 per cent, residential 24 per cent, agricultural burning 19 per cent and 8 per cent by power plants.

If the Congress and other Opposition parties had taken up a campaign on mission mode and created awareness among the people involving Resident Welfare Associations in various localities in collection, segregation of garbage from houses and the societies, it would have certainly created an impact.

Citizens can take steps to covert the garbage into compost in their localities. Every individual should keep a proper check on the pollution level of their vehicles and use more CNG vehicles. The government should ensure proper public transport system so that the dependence on private vehicles could be reduced.

Similarly, making proper and efficient use of energy and reducing water pollution by use of chemicals, pesticides and herbicides should be controlled. Unless every citizen and political parties learn to think in a broader perspective to control pollution, Delhi will continue to be a hazardous city.

One should understand that it is the national capital and both the Central and the State governments and other political parties have a huge responsibility to improve the situation.

Any party that can come with solutions both short term and long term and also work with people in ensuring that they too play their role in controlling pollution, would certainly have an advantage in any elections that would take place next.

They can start by going from colony to colony, galli to galli, door to door and see that everyone takes up a pledge to make Delhi safe and free from dangerous level of pollution. Even a small step counts…

This should also be a lesson to all States where pollution levels are going up. Is GHMC in Hyderabad listening?

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