Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
When, tell me WHEN we, as people, will start taking up the responsibility for our actions? Why do we start blaming others when things go wrong? Why do we always want one scapegoat or the other to hide behind?
We throw trash on the roads and other public spaces and then blame the sweepers and municipal authorities for not cleaning up.
We honk unnecessarily on the roads and then blame the government for not making stringent laws against noise pollution.
We flout traffic rules and regulations and then blame the traffic cops for not being able to stop accidents.
We waste water and electricity with impunity and then blame the authorities for not supplying us enough.
We do nothing, absolutely nothing, to recharge groundwater and then blame the government for its depletion.
And we also burst crackers and burn all kinds of garbage and then blame the government for failing to check pollution.
We do so many things, without caring two hoots for anyone around us and the quickly resort to passing the buck. Why? Oh, why?
Why cannot we be responsible citizens of our nation, responsible beings for the humanity?
Take the recent case of rising air pollution in Delhi. I am a Delhiite too, and I, along with my whole family, have been under the attack of severe cough and throat congestion ever since Diwali night. The smog that has enveloped Delhi and NCR is the handiwork of its residents. The government on its part has been advising people against the use of fire crackers since a month before Diwali; it has been doing this for the last 10 years now. But who paid the heed? Did you? No. Only a handful of people didn’t buy and burst crackers. Rest all did. I saw many of them proudly announcing that they bought crackers worth Rs 10,000 or more. In my neighbourhood in East Delhi, people burst crackers for three days, till late in the night, and the morning when they got up, they mouthed expletives against the state and Central government. Isn’t it hilarious, and nauseating?
Now I see many people are organizing/ planning to organize rallies with face masks, marching to Janpath to protest against the air pollution. What purpose will the rallies serve, apart from causing chaos and traffic jams on the roads. Really guys, are you serious?
Bursting crackers, stubble and garbage burning, leaves’ burning, road dust, vehicular emissions from the factories and power plants all are the reasons that cause air pollution. And in each of these, it is we the people who are involved. At any level, people are the stakeholders and people are the victims. So we have to sit back and think, think and act.
Kindly, do not wait for the government to do something, because without the will and support of people, no Government can accomplish anything or reach anywhere.
If you are a farmer, resolve that you won’t burn your stubble. And stop it now.
If you are a municipal worker, resolve that you will not burn the garbage or green waste. Stop now.
If you are an industry manufacturing crackers, resolve that you will either altogether stop high-decibel, pollution-causing crackers or, at least, tone down the numbers.
If you are associated with power plants or other factories installing filters or water sprinklers to check the emission levels. It doesn’t even matter if you are located in Delhi or not as air spread all over, the wind can carry dust particles from as far as 300 km.
And everyone, each one of you, must start planting trees, any tree, and take care of it. Trees alone are the oxygen-producers and it is these that will help you, us all, breathe in the fresh air. Species like amla, tamrind, shishir, neem and gulmohar are more beneficial as the leaves of these trees can trap dust particles in a much easier way and help keep the atmosphere clean.