My husband had childhood asthma. His folks told me that it was so bad that they had given up hope multiple times in his childhood. But then, he simply outgrew it. When I was carrying my first child, this was a worry that silently played on our ‘’first time parents’’ minds all the time – what if our child inherited it. Back then we lived in an industrial township and the levels of SPM (Suspended Particulate Matter) which resulted in air pollution, was pretty high, added to our worries. Anyways, our child was born a hundred percent healthy – ticking all the parameters like a hero.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • China and India top the charts for air pollution related deaths.
  • A study states that the life of a south Asian child born today will be shortened by two years and six months growing up in ambient and household pollution.
  • What are we doing to have eco-friendly fuel options in place? How do we plan to make public transport so user-friendly that people find it a hassle to take out their private vehicles? 
  • As a mom, make sure to encourage kids to plant more trees, that they know the difference between blue bin and green bin, shower time should never exceeds two minutes and littering should be nonexistent.
  • Taking up the cause of the environment at war level, nothing less, is the need of the hour.

The “Mumbai’’ that is known for being greener and cleaner. Oh yeah! It was back then. I was happy living in a place that gave Kerala vibes. It’s been five years now and slowly but surely have noticed the changes in the air.

Four years and another child later, we moved to Navi Mumbai – The “Mumbai’’ that is known for being greener and cleaner. Oh yeah! It was back then. I was happy living in a place that gave Kerala vibes. It’s been five years now and slowly but surely have noticed the changes in the air. The first time I sat up and took notice was during the Deonar dumping ground fires of 2016. The news reported that areas of Govandi, Chembur and Mankhurd were affected. However, for good 15 days or so, as the dusk fell and the winds changed direction, our area in Navi Mumbai too was enveloped in evil-looking, evil-smelling yellowish smoke. I remember keeping my kids indoors in the evenings for those few days. Air pollution had become a reality!

India and China registered over 1.2 million deaths in 2017 from air pollution. Another study states that the life of a south Asian child born today will be shortened by two years and six months growing up in ambient and household pollution.

Recently, the reports about China and India topping the charts for air pollution related deaths should be taken as a wake up (and STAY AWAKE) call. To quote – India and China registered over 1.2 million deaths in 2017 from air pollution. Another study states that the life of a south Asian child born today will be shortened by two years and six months growing up in ambient and household pollution. Haven’t we all read about smoking chiseling away five years of our lives? Not much difference there eh?

Earlier, when I used to see the pictures of those smog covered cities of China with people wearing masks of all sorts, I used to pity them and now, this has creeped up in our own backyard.

Earlier, when I used to see the pictures of those smog covered cities of China with people wearing masks of all sorts for protection against air pollution, I used to pity them and now, this has creeped up in our own backyard. In fact, 7 of the 10 most polluted cities of the world are in India. If this isn’t a national and global emergency then I wonder what is. What are we doing to have eco-friendly fuel options in place? How do we plan to make public transport so user-friendly that people find it a hassle to take out their private vehicles? I mean do we even realise that sitting smug in our air-conditioned SUVs, we have slayed 5 trees even before our first U-turn.

It’s not that we are not doing ANYTHING about it. I, as a mom, make sure that I encourage my kids to plant more trees, they know the difference between blue bin and green bin, shower time never exceeds two minutes and littering is non-existent.

It’s not that we are not doing ANYTHING about it. I, as a mom, make sure that I encourage my kids to plant more trees, they know the difference between blue bin and green bin, shower time never exceeds two minutes and littering is non-existent but  then you read stuff like Aarey deforestation and of Mahul turning into a gas chamber and suddenly all this looks so insignificant, so futile. It feels as if you have taken ten small positive steps and then got dragged back by hundred miles.

Taking up the cause of the environment more specifically of air pollution at war level, nothing less, is the need of the hour. Solid strategies by the government, serious penalties for flouting the rules, awareness among all socio-economic classes is a must because, to quote Carl Sagan – Anything else you are interested in is not going to happen if you can’t breathe the air or drink the water. Don’t sit this one out. Do something.

Pic credits: Reuters

The views expressed are the author’s own.

Email us at connect@shethepeople.tv