We all know how hazardous and fatal, various types of pollution are turning out to be in this country each day. A recent International survey revealed alarming figures of deaths caused by the ill effects of air pollution in the year 2015, thereby pushing India to the world’s top position in this category. No offense, but sadly the figures are 25 lakh people who claimed lives in 2015 which converts to at least 5 deaths per minute. Few health issues developed as a result of continuous exposure to air pollution in the country are lung disorders, chronic respiratory infections, and various types of other diseases that eventually lead to death. There’s more n the name of diseases, say Heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer and what not?
Gone are the days when we could go for morning and evening walks to inhale some fresh air. When was the last time you went out on the road without having to cover your nose and mouth at least once? No, we don’t know. Even a small walk to the local store would want us to come back and wash our face smeared in dust and smoke from diesel engines. Let us admit it; we are in danger, deep danger.
We read news every now and then of Supreme Court’s decisions to cleanse the capital city through various means. They began by placing a ban on diesel engines, then later on moved to ban on fire crackers during Diwali and usage of diesel generators as well. But if we think we are away from all the mess since we are not living in Delhi, then let us remember that we are not too far. Out cities are lining up themselves accordingly, every Indian city is getting ready for the rampage of airborne diseases. Who is to be blamed? No one but us, our negligence! It is not just crackers or emissions from factories or coal plants, but also the ever increasing number of vehicles that are exposing the public health in danger. Government is taking new steps every now and then to curb the ill effects of air pollution, but there are few things we could do as well. If you ever wondered “what we normal citizens could do”, then you are wrong. Here’s a list of things which you could do to contribute towards a greener India.
•Stop depending on your car/bike all the time: Take short trips to your local supermarket or salon by walk. If it is less than a km, try walking instead of taking your car/bike. It helps you have a physical exercise as well as reduces one vehicle on the road during that time. Imagine if 50% of the people did the same, there would be that many vehicles less on the road. Result: Less Congestion, Less Pollution!
•Car Pooling as much as possible: If your kid and the neighbor kid goes to the same school at around the same time, plan it in such a way that each parent does car-pooling taking turns, so that there is again less congestion on the road plus it is cost effective as well. I have seen kids coming from same apartment complex in separate SUVs. Imagine if four children came in four different cars to the same school from the same place, how much congestion and pollution would it cause in the place of one. I am not particularly saying school trips, we could think of office and weekly grocery shopping trips as well. It is a great way of socializing too.
• Drive vehicle sensibly: Most of us are in a hurry to reach the destination as quickly as possible. Whether be it the drive to work or school in the mornings, or the last minute rush to catch a train or flight, or even to not miss a movie, we all are used to hurrying from the moment we wear the shoes until we reach the spot. If we could plan a little, maybe say 10 minutes than earlier when we actually planned it, we would not have to rush. It isn’t just about being punctual, but also about driving sensible. When we hurry, we accelerate and drive rash, pushing it far beyond the speed limit which leads to unnecessary wastage of fuel and emissions, maybe even accidents. Go easy on the accelerators and brakes. Only if we plan trips wisely, we could skip all the unwanted chaos.
•Avoid driving peak hours: We all know there are peak hours in the morning and evening, the peak rush of school and office goers. No matter how much we think, yet we end up getting caught in the traffic wasting our time and fuel every other day. Once again it is all about planning wisely. Try getting out a little too early to work/school and a little late after work/school so that you don’t get stuck in the traffic.
•Use Public Transport as much as possible: Take the public transport and encourage other members of the family too to use the same if there is accessibility, at least once or twice a week, even if not daily. It makes a lot of difference on the road if every member from each house decides to do the same once in a while. Lead by example and don’t wait for or expect others to begin the change.
•Use Zero emission vehicles: Try to use zero emission vehicles like bicycles, battery or hybrid vehicles as much as possible if you have them.
•Regular maintenance of your car/bike: Poorly maintained vehicles emit a lot of unwanted gas into the atmosphere. We all are busy in our daily lives but we never forget to clean up ourselves or visit our doctor if we fall sick, do we? So do our vehicles too need a clean-up and frequent tuning as part of its maintenance schedule. Even a small glitch when ignored, could adversely affect the performance of your vehicle contributing to air pollution.
What we drive and how we drive has a major impact on the environment we live in. If we think we are not responsible to the damage that India is facing now, then let us open our eyes to reality. We are all part of this ecosystem and any damage caused to it is actually our contribution and also our destruction. Hence, if we try to focus on our negligence for a while, we could actually create a better cleaner environment. Let us guide the new generation too through the right path setting examples.