5 STEPS FOR CLEAN AIR IN INDIA
1. EDUCATE OURSELVES.
We need to target information about how the Air Quality Index is interpreted for schools, children, welfare societies, and the elderly, who are most at risk. You know, when the temperature outside is 30 degrees versus 40 degrees, we know how to dress, we know what to do, and what not to do. Likewise, we need information about precautions to take when outdoor air quality is poor, very poor, severe, or dangerous.
2. BECOME ACTIVE MONITORS.
Today, most Indian cities and much of rural India have no air quality monitoring at all. We need to demand that air quality sensors are installed in every constituency. We citizens have to become fire alarms. We have to demand emergency call-in numbers and specialized task forces that can respond in real-time to pollution sites.
3. BE PREPARED TO PAY A PRICE
Whether for cars with BS6 fuel or for more expensive electricity from cleaner power plants. The Supreme Court had ordered that only green fireworks could be sold, but they were nowhere to be found. But the polluting ones were available. Why? Because we were ready to buy it. As citizens, we need to reduce the demand for these environmentally harmful products or be willing to pay more for cleaner products.
4. BUILD SOME EMPATHY FOR OUR FELLOW CITIZENS.
You know, it’s very easy to blame farmers for burning rice paddy stubble every winter, which pollutes the air. It is much more difficult to understand that it is the combination of our agricultural policy and our groundwater crisis that often leaves the farmer with no choice but to burn the stubble. We need to attract the urban poor worker or rural poor farmer to our collective call for clean air. Farmers are willing to adopt sustainable agriculture, but they need help.
5. CHANGE OUR LIFESTYLES.
Make the choice to buy a cleaner and less polluting private vehicle. Make the choice to separate and recycle household waste. In southern Mysore, public-private partnerships and citizen-led green clubs come together to reduce, separate, and recycle waste so that landfills are completely eliminated.
It is our collective indifference that takes the pressure off parliamentarians, bureaucrats, or enforcement agencies. But we also need to convert clean air into a democratic demand.
Feel free to reach out to me if you need help with what is right for you, using this link.