To see the bright sunshine post Diwali smog filled days, has really been a great relief. Off late, it has become a routine drill of sorts. We start preparing for the festival of lights - the newspapers and media channels keep alerting us about bad air quality - government agencies and green bodies keep requesting to stay away from crackers - we listen and ignore - then comes the Diwali night and we as a society burst crackers like there is no tomorrow.
Welcome dawn, the start of smog covered days at stretch!
Once again, our social media and social circles go buzzing with pollution discussions, we post pictures, show our disgust and concern over particulate matter levels, finish our morning cup of tea, get ready for the day ahead and drive off to our workplaces, in different cars. After all we have a job and a home to take care of.
We as tax-paying, honorable citizens feel angry, government has yet again failed us. They just make plans to control pollution which never get implemented. Right?
Wrong , very very wrong!
A city that has 11.6 times higher PM 2.5 level needs to think really seriously and start asking some questions. It sounds shocking but we as a society we have created this SMOKEHOUSE which is growing denser every year.
It’s painful to accept the facts but, all of us together are contributing towards environment degeneration. If you think you are a responsible citizen just because you celebrated a GREEN DIWALI this year, you need to run a check. How do you explain our society's preference for individual vehicles, scant respect for waste management (including daily waste, e waste etc), no awareness about adopting clean energy sources like solar energy and burning of crops and waste in open despite numerous laws and warnings by the government.
Repeated warnings falling on deaf ears
The Government has also contributed its fair share in letting pollution go out of control. WHO report declared Delhi to be the most polluted city in the world two years back and despite knowing this, the government initiatives to curb pollution remained snail paced. There was no restriction on use of DG sets, construction work (including illegal societies and colonies) saw massive boom, automobile industry was given patronage, resulting in greater vehicular emissions.
Solar Energy - Lots of hype, little action
In recent months there has been lots of hype around solar energy but I know from first hand experience how difficult it is to complete the paperwork and get subsidy for solar PV installations. Concerned about our environmental challenges we launched our clean energy marketplace SolarHippo. Despite providing one stop solution for solar services and products, we faced slowdown in demand due to unfavourable government policies which delayed sourcing subsidy to bear the high upfront cost of solar installations. In the current scenario, it is really difficult to push a common man to adopt solar products which have a high installation cost.
Lessons to learn and the way forward for a cleaner- greener Delhi!
So, we are accepting the problem and our contribution in creating this mess. Now, where do we go from here?
As responsible citizens we should pledge to take every small step that helps in reverting the damage to our environment. From use of pooled vehicles and public transport to waste management and adoption of alternative clean energy sources we have to go really aggressive if we really want to prevent further deterioration.
Also, Government should put strict restrictions on use of environment polluting emissions from various sources. Public transport should be streamlined and made available more easily to all. As a green initiative, Government should welcome and promote startups that are keen to work for greener environment.
We have erred collectively as a society hence, we need a collective push for a pollution free city. We definitely need help from the government and the related green bodies, but as responsible citizens, each one of us should start taking small but certain steps towards creating a greener, cleaner Delhi-NCR by next Diwali.
*This article was published on Linkedin.