Oxygen bars are opening up to give the people a chance to breathe
clean air for a stipulated amount of time. WUR student Varun
Dinesh shares his first-hand experience with the severe emergency
levels of smog in Delhi.
‘When my flight to Delhi was landing, I was waiting for when the plane crossed the clouds and I could see the city from above — but it never did cross the clouds and yet it landed. What appeared to be thick clouds was actually the air itself. That was the time I realized that the smog was indeed a serious problem.
The smog is not primarily because of the pollution from the vehicles or even the crackers of Diwali, a very big festival in India when many people burst crackers. It is caused by the agricultural practices in places around Delhi: farmers burn the remaining crops after harvest and all the smoke from this flows into the city due to the wind channels. As a result, the city gets heavily polluted.
Common people acknowledge that the current situation is a problem. But they also have the mindset that nothing can be done unless the government intervenes. Apart from distributing free masks to everyone, the state government has come up with the odd-even rule to minimize the people on the city roads. The licence plates of the cars with odd numbers work on the odd dates of the month and the even licence plates on the even dates. It seems to be working to bring down the pollution, but it is not a longterm solution.
I strongly believe all man-made issues can also be solved by man. So if people come together to take appropriate action right now, it is still not too late. Cooperatives should arrange awareness drives for farmers about the burning practices and try to educate them about the harmful effects of what they are doing. As for the common people’s responsibility: we need more people to care.’