The deadly combination of smoke and fog that is Smog, especially in the winter, is making the life of people nothing less than a hell so much so that people have started comparing DELHI to a GAS CHAMBER.
There is no denying fact that the problems of global warming and the climate change have crossed their threshold limits. Since the advent of human civilisation, man has been abusing the natural resources till today, when the humanity as a whole has to pay heavy price, in the form of global warming, reaching to alarming 2oC. Like every time the recent Paris Climate meet seems to be heading towards the deadlock because of the intense ideological and practical differences, in commitment with regard to carbon emission and climate funding. In fact one can analyse the developed nations are more vociferous in the demand for curbing unnecessary use or misuse of natural resources and carbon emission because they have already misused or exploited the natural resources to attain the tag of being ‘developed’. ‘The developing nations on the other hand are yet to attain this state; therefore they are bound to use natural resources in abundances’, is certainly no defence for developing nations.
As far Bharat is concerned, urbanisation has undoubtedly taken its toll on the growing environmental degradation. This is quite evident in the form of frequent floods, earthquakes, and the unusual climate change and of course, the environmental pollution of every kind. For example, today in Delhi (listed as the most polluted city), some years back the entire route from Dwarka to Gurgaon used to be surrounded by lush green fields, adorned with yellow mustard flowers. A whiff of mild fragrance used to re energise and revitalise our souls. For a moment one would forget that one was in the capital city. Within the time period of year or so these fields were engulfed by the massive concrete structures. To satisfy the needs of over growing population, as Delhi is already an overcrowded metropolis, every inch of the land so available was turned into every possible structure, except some cultivable land or land marked for forestation. Although, industrial units were shifted to the outskirts of Delhi to mitigate the problem of pollution yet we can surely ourselves, “Will these buildings and infrastructures so raised be able to produce the tones of food grains? Or will the cyber hubs, DLF and BPTP buildings purify the air which those age old trees used to do for us?”
Not only Delhi but every inch of the country is inflicted with the problem of reckless and unmindful industrialisation and urbanisation. The recent Kashmir floods and the more recent Chennai floods were nothing but the outcome of ever growing lust and greed to acquire more, which resulted in choking even the natural river paths, leave alone the land area and swamps. At the time of incessant rains the water bodies didn’t get the sufficient outlets to distribute their surplus waters, resulting in the inundation of the nearby areas which causes huge and the enormous damage to life and property. Given the projected growth in both human population and economic activity, the rate of loss of forests has not only taken its toll on the ecological balance but will also have severe
economic crises, especially in developing countries. Human interference with the natural forces and cycles including climate change jointly threaten the existence of the life on this planet called Earth.
As a responsible citizen, I tried to contribute my bit by intimating all the concerned departments and alarming the civic authorities against the mushroom growth of unplanned and irregular colonies and its subsequent detrimental effects. Unfortunately, even after frequent reminders the authorities kept ignoring my suggestions and submissions, for their Rs 50, 000 per linter kickback. The entire area from Connaught place to Nagafghar is dotted with illegal and unplanned commercial and residential complexes with little space left even for the expansion of roads or for the free passage of ambulance or any other emergency services. The houses have been built with not even a finger wide gap between them. Similar is the scene with North, South and East parts of Delhi. In such a situation even a small rain leads to blockage of streets and the breeding place for the disease causing bacteria. Further more on normal days due to narrowing down of lanes/roads the traffic snarls are a common scenario giving rise to excessive carbon emission, polluting the air and making it hazardous for the normal inhaling. The deadly combination of smoke and fog that is Smog, especially in the winter, is making the life of people nothing less than a hell so much so that people have started comparing DELHI to a GAS CHAMBER.
In the name of development every unscrupulous human enterprise has been justified throughout in our country. The rapid installation of the Diesel run Cellular Towers in this country too has played massively havoc with the nature. Burning of diesel directly means emission of large amounts of poisonous gases including the carbon dioxide (CO2) and smoke accompanied with the generation of enormous heat and of course noise pollution, the absolute nuisance to the entire area. According to the present estimates, a swift rise in CO2 concentration will increase average temperature of the atmosphere by 0.30oC per decade. Does that mean that like our industrial sector our telecom sector that survives on diesel especially during power cuts would add tones and tones of smoke and hazardous gases to the atmosphere? Are the cellular operators not aware of the disastrous effects of global warming?
The present chaotic situation as far as atmospheric pollution is concerned needs some immediate measures to cope up with the problem. The alternation of vehicular traffic on the basis of Odd/Even numbers may relieve air of much of the pollutant gases but the Delhites have to pay the price in the form of inconvenience they will face in the wake of poor public transport system. Contrary to this 15 days’ Odd/Even trial, government must take some permanent measures, which will surely provide permanent solution to the problem. These include the three important measures which I have been time and again suggesting to the authorities for last decade or so, but alas of no use! First and foremost, apart from the illegal colonies, all the banquet halls in the residential areas should be sealed and relocated. Secondly, the weekly markets held on different days of the week not only choke the roads and pavements but also are the major cause of pollution. Thirdly, the space occupied by hawkers and vendors illegally on roads needs to be addressed. To nip the evil in the bud if these measures are adopted in full flesh and blood only then the Chief Minister’s measure of alternate vehicular traffic will bear the positive results. Last but not the least, if NCT can borrow Odd/Even formula from Beijing, then what is wrong in adopting European style Tonga system for Delhi’s internal roads?
Yajin Bhatt (The writer is a freelancer
and social activist)