Protecting Everyone’s Right to Breathe Clean Air
Air is one of the fundamental elements sustaining life on Earth. Given that most of Earth’s living beings depend on Oxygen & Carbon Dioxide (plants), any imbalance in the concentrations of either of these leads to grave ecological imbalance. Good quality air plays a vital role in determining your health as well as your mental & physical development. A study suggests that poor air quality (as experienced by cities like Delhi) can reduce your life by at least 4-5 years!
With the inevitable growth in industrialization, the air pollution is soon affecting not just cities but also towns & villages where these industry plants are set up.
Even then, have you ever noticed that the air in a city smells different from the air in the countryside? One of the top reasons is that exhausts from the vast multitudes of vehicles give off fumes, or gases, in the cities is poisoning you. Frequent use of electric appliances & cutting of trees is further contributing to the increased air pollution in cities.
The top five causes of air pollution due to individuals & our lifestyle choices are:
1. Vehicular pollution tops the charts. Badly maintained vehicles give off more hazardous fumes. It is essential that each individual gets the air quality of the exhaust emitted by his vehicle checked & the vehicle repaired to prevent the poisonous discharges.
2. Use of electric appliances which are not power efficient is alarmingly high in India. Power plants used to generate electricity causes high air pollution. Thus using energy efficient bulbs & appliances will go a long way in indirectly controlling air pollution.
3. Carpooling or using public transport instead of individual cars & bikes further helps in reducing air pollution on a personal front. This is your chance to make a difference to the air quality you breathe in by saving fuel.
4. Burning of unseasoned wood, non-smokeless coal in brick furnaces etc causes not only smoke but also particulate pollution. We should consider environmentally friendly building material options.
5. Deforestation or indiscriminate cutting of trees in cities is a grave issue which directly affects high pollution ratios. The rate at which trees in a city are cut is disproportionate to reforestation, thus causing a terrible ecological imbalance.
The question one needs to ask is how best can I as an individual volunteer in Reducing Air Pollution? Here are five simple steps for you to contribute:
1. Plant more trees in your surroundings while making your contacts (like your housing society members) aware of the importance of doing so. Many voluntary organisations will help you in doing so.
2. Stop using cars for individual transport & opt for public transport or car pools instead. This will not only reduce the pollution but also put the public transportation to better use. Offer rides to your neighbor if going the same way.
3. As much as possible refrain from using Air Conditioners & opt for environmentally friendly choices like desert cooler instead. Always opt for power saving & energy efficient appliances.
4. Instead of using plastic (which when burnt causes severe air pollution), opt for alternative Eco-friendly materials like natural fibers, cloth etc. Volunteer to spread awareness of Eco-friendly non-toxic materials.
5. Do not cause excessive air pollution by burning crackers to celebrate Diwali or a cricket match win! Opt for voluntary tree plantation instead. This way you are not only setting a good example for the kids but also securing their future.
Our society understands the grave consequences of air pollution on our health, ecosystem & quality of life. However, there are very few who actually contribute to mitigating this demon.
The greatest threat to our planet from air pollution is the belief that someone else will save it! Individual choices can control Air Pollution! Do not let our future go up in smoke!