I can hardly control my surging thoughts, in the wake of recent developments in my beloved city, Delhi. The city of my childhood is witnessing a public health emergency and everyone is busy in passing the buck. Every year control measures are taken only after the fat is in the fire. Let’s accept that Pollution is a grave concern, not only for Delhi but for most of the tier 1 cities in India. Unbelievable? You can check for yourself at aqicn.org
What kind of development are we talking about friends? We are staring at a future where our children will be carrying oxygen cylinders instead of water bottles to schools. A future where pollution masks will be sold like accessories, to be paired up with the colour of your dress. Horrible it sounds. Isn’t it? But the way things are progressing , not only in India but in many parts of the world, this day is not far. Nature selects the fittest of the species for survival and in our case, we are pacing towards self-annihilation. The root cause of everything is our “Greed”. Our spending patterns are no longer governed by our needs but by our greed. Consumerism is the reality of our time and is pushing this planet to its limit. Earlier, there used to be “Summer Sale” and “Winter Sale”, but now “Sale” happens all throughout the year with intermittent periods of breathing time. Things are deliberately made not to last, so that repeat purchase can take place soon. Repair is for misers, Replace is the buzz-word.
Look around your surroundings. Is there a change? Vehicles are piling up. Solid waste lies strewn all over. Plastic bottles, plastic bags, plastic pens, plastic furniture and more plastic everywhere. Any clue, where this ever so convenient plastic is coming from? It comes from petrochemicals, produced from petroleum. Gallons of petroleum are processed in order to prepare that comfy chair on which you are sitting now. Plastic packaging is convenient and cheap, but imagine that how much it will add to our carbon footprint. A carbon footprint is historically defined as the total set of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an individual, event, organisation, or product, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent (Source: @Wikipedia).
Everyone is well aware of the health consequences of soaring pollution levels. It is not strange that deadly diseases like cancers, heart troubles and respiratory illnesses are on the rise. Hospitals are mushrooming everywhere to cure our problems, whereas mass production of problems is going on. We are treating the symptoms, instead of working on the root cause. Today being diseased, popping in pills is not a big problem but not being able to drive a swanky car is a big problem. Millions dying due to hunger is not a big problem but not being able to dine out with family is a big problem. Actually, modern lifestyle has reduced some of our problems, by giving us multitude of other problems. Problem lies in the fact that we don’t know, where actually the problem lies.
Knowing this all, can we be a little more conscious while making the next super-market visit? Can we consciously choose products which are preferably not packed in plastic jars? Can we encourage our children to buy refills instead of buying use and throw stationary? Can we economize upon our frequent car trips? Can we convince our heart, to not follow the latest fashion trends blindly? Can we assure our spirit of the fact that god has enough for everyone and we needn’t hoard things mindlessly for bad time? The change needs to start from within. No government has ever solved the problem of any country. It’s the people only, who can be the torch-bearers and harbingers of change. Solution is in our hands. If we consume less, then they will produce less. Agreed, it will impede “Development” but at least we will be alive. Moreover, it will push everyone to look for cleaner and sustainable alternatives.
It’s ridiculous when experts say that Earth will become inhabitable in 600 years and it’s time to explore life beyond. I believe, me and my children have only this planet for many years to come. Let’s preserve it together by bringing in small but significant changes to our day-to-day approach.