Tackling Air Pollution in Delhi

About the author:
Nishka is a mythology buff and considers herself a food connoisseur. During her time off from her finance job, she can be found devouring truffle fries. Frequently visiting wildlife reserves has made her more sensitive towards the environment.

With a cup of coffee, I sit overlooking a beautiful lawn. The plants appear to be glistening, and doves and oriental magpie robins make repeated appearances. With butterflies doing their fluttery dance, the scene is as beautiful as it is serene.

Before the reader is envious, I must admit that I cannot fully enjoy the moment. I find myself wanting to be immersed in nature and yet I am having to keep a distance. I cannot stop coughing once I step out the door or even open a window. India Today claims that every Delhi resident smoked about 340 cigarettes between 20 October to 21 November (on average) because of the high pollution in the city’s air.

The word “winter” conjures images of pristine snow and crisp cold air. After a year of hard work, people take time off to enjoy themselves during the holiday season and relax. Alas, winters in Delhi could not be further from the notion of enjoyment. In fact, there has been an 8-10% decline in revenues for the food and entertainment industries in November, year on year. With schools shutting down, people fled the capital in favour of other cities to get some respite from the smoke clogging their lungs. Stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana had wrecked air quality which was exacerbated by burning crackers during Diwali. While the odd-even scheme is extremely inconvenient, it did lead to a slight decline in the pollution level. 

Taking matters in our own hands, what is it that we can do to protect our lungs and safeguard the environment? 

The answer may be as simple as “walking”. If we all started to walk short distances, not only would we be able to breathe cleaner air, we would also be benefitting our own health. With the prevailing PM 2.5 levels though, do not step out without a mask! 

Carpooling or using public transportation is a great alternative as well. Sharing rides is not only good for the environment but also for you. I use a shared cab service for commuting to and from work and it is a great way to meet new people. I have built many meaningful relationships and learnt new things about my organisation, thanks to my daily cab ride.

Buying a new car? 

Go for CNG. With 1400 new cars getting added to the streets of Delhi each day, pollution levels are bound to be high. If you buy a car that runs on CNG, not only are you doing your bit for the environment, but also, you will save on sales and road tax. 

Composting is Cool 

As humans, we are heavily reliant on the environment for our daily meals. Composting is a really simple way of giving back to the environment as it can be done in our very own backyards. Food waste can end up benefitting the environment if used as compost for plants, rather than getting burnt as trash and attacking our lungs.

Bring out the warriors! 

You may not be aware but you can house a small army of air purifying plants in your balconies. Plants are adept at absorbing gases through pores on the surface of their leaves. In addition to carbon dioxide, they can also absorb benzene and formaldehyde. Apart from making the house look pretty, they can reduce the risk of respiratory illnesses. Peace lilies, snake plants and areca palms look slick and constantly improve your air quality!

 Let’s do our bit to leave our polluting habits behind in 2019.

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