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Ever increasing air pollution has made it persistently to the front page of leading newspapers. Today, Hindustan Times highlight on front page about much celebrated cybercity- Gurgaon- “cost of living with pollution: report says PM2.5 exposure lowers lifespan by 9 yrs”.
However, this crucial topic has not appeared in debates in leading Indian TV channels, busy with evergreen topic of politics. Near (pre & post) Diwali, in non-prime time slot, most of the time was spent on reporting the massive AQI, gravity of air pollution in New Delhi. And Indian radio channels seem busy with entertainment. None of them have seriously demanded immediate implementation of real emergency measures to curb air pollution. Hey, what about polluted water- did you shout? Is health of main street not a priority? Even, the leading international channels like CNN, BBC mostly focus on the gravity of natural calamities but do not seriously reflect the root cause- climate change and emergency measures that need to be taken by governments and citizens (drastic change in lifestyle, preferences). The staus symble assoicated with cars, perfumes... (list is not unlimited), must go, say by immeditely banning them along with construction activites as an emergency measure to curb climate and pollution. To set up an example, top government employees should travel by public transport only. So much more can be done, if there is a will. Ney, air purifiers, masks are no solutions.
What is grossly absent is serious relook at the concept of policies that can bring about real change. High economic growth is not at all an indication of sustainable development for the welfare of the main street. Now another meeting- COP 24 will be held next month, with high profile bureaucratic pondering over climate change, but will any substantial change take place on the ground level? Till then should the mainstreet wait to get unwell to voice its concern regarding air, water pollution by posting a letter to the editor?