It’s amazing that even with all the current media attention, people are unwilling to come to terms with the idea that our current lifestyle and municipal systems (or lack of) are causing the largest health crisis of the century. Right here in India.
From outdated diesel/petrol cars, the lower quality fuel used, multiple diesel generator sets as power backups to burning of leaves and trash even by our own gardeners, lack of landfills and environmentally friendly trash management...the list goes on. These factors (and more) unwittingly causing hazardously polluted air quality and scores of illness among our youngest family members.
Think about it for a moment: We are living in an era where our children can potentially live up to 120 years (according to a recent Time magazine article). But what are the odds of that happening, given the daily levels of air pollution they are exposed to?
If only we all could just take a piece of personal responsibility to make a difference, even if its just in our own backyard.
Its sad to hear people arguing that the government should do this and ought to do that. But what about us? Aren’t we all morally responsible to do something? Even small changes can make a big difference. Be it something as simple as carpooling, or in-lane driving. We seem to brake more than we honk! Can we not do something at a personal level? It’s seems like no one is willing to give up their lifestyle, as it’s not their problem and they are not the cause of it.
Recently, I’ve been pushing for a petition with the residents of our association to pledge that we will not buy diesel cars until the quality of diesel is raised, in this case, to Euro 6 standards, by 2020. Instead we should only buy Electric/ Hybrids cars. I feel that this will put pressure on the automobile industry to expedite the transition and the fuel industry to create a better supply chain and infrastructure. As they say, no pain no gain! I thought people would embrace this concept, but alas this is not the case. The younger generation is still willing to inconvenience themselves, but often not the older folks. Unfortunately, many are property owners and have very strong opinions even in the face of blasting evidence. But I will not give up and am optimistic that these folks will listen! Wish me good luck!
Dr Manjali Khosla
Manjali Khosla is a founding member, Care For Air. She moved to New Delhi from Canada over 3 years ago with her family. Since then, she has been diagnosed with pneumonia twice. As a research scientist in asthma medication, her investigations have convinced her that this is due to her exposure to Delhi's toxic air. Manjali and her family wear masks all year round.
Tell us your personal stories on how you battle air pollution in your daily life and in your community.