Editorial

Planning, Participation, Performance – Ways To Tackle Air Pollution

It has become a norm for the national capital and its adjoining regions to be engulfed in smog during the winter months, so much so, that with the advent of the cooler climate, people start expecting the air quality to dip and the visibility to deteriorate.

This year, it is no different, and the Delhi smog has made its presence felt – air quality levels have dropped to “very poor” and “severe” levels and this has once again posed a major health hazard, for senior citizens as well as children.

Now, it has also become the norm to ban crackers and blame stubble burning for this mess that surrounds us. However, this is just shirking responsibility and passing the buck. We have to understand that stubble peaks during the months of October-November and this cannot be the sole factor for the extended periods of bad air the national capital witnesses in December and January.

If the lawmakers are serious about solving this problem, they should first be awake to acknowledging why it persists in the first place. It is a combination of a number of internal factors that include vehicular emissions, power plants that vomit carbon, brick kilns and stone crushers and then, the dust on roads as well as on construction sites.

For starters, there should be a concerted effort to build a green umbrella all across the concrete jungle that is the Delhi-NCR region. Afforestation, which is planting trees has been a proven carbon sink to trap atmospheric dust.

And then, there is the implementation part which is often what lets every project down. There are agencies that have the power to implement the legislation, but quite often, they lack the manpower or even the intent go on the ground to see to the proper execution of the plans and this is where everything falls by the wayside.

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If citizens are not made aware and if they are not educated about the many ills of pollution, nothing will change and hence, the government of the day needs to start education and increasing awareness among the masses. This year, Delhi Government has shown some intent to spread the message to the masses where they ask them to switch off their ignition when they are halting owing to a red signal. There need to be more drives to influence citizens to make lifestyle changes that can have an impact on the environment.

With the federal structure being in place, the governments across state borders should come together and ensure coordination to tackle this menace, because, at the end of the day, air does not identify boundaries, so why should solutions be impeded by them?