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Air Pollution: Pragmatic perceptions
Dr. Arun Kumar Sharma
Professor, HOD, Department of Community Medicine, University College of Medical Sciences, University of Delhi
(Published on: 16 September, 2019 @08 PM)

We, the people, have consciously andunconsciously changed our earth, our air and our water. The three fundamentalpillars of life – air, food, and shelter, feeding three fundamental rights tohealthy life, dignified living and freedom of speech have started damaging ourown eco system and the sources of sustenance are turning out to be monsters ofdestruction. The third paradigm of thisdiscourse is responsibility that comes in tandem with rights. But rights havetaken unprecedented leap over responsibilities and this disbalance is at theroot of all that’s going wrong in our ecosystem. Let me elaborate.

We took our freedoms very dearly and put our rightsahead of our responsibilities. Personal rights took away our collectiveresponsibilities. Consumption overtook conservation. Comforts are more satisfying than controls.So, we have more cars, carpooling is not an option. We consume more, so we produce more, so wetransport more, and this means more motors on the road, adding infinite amountof toxic exhaust to the air without having any cleaning mechanism in place. Weswitch on the air conditioners at the drop of a hat and do not wait for anabove optimum rise of temperatures. We build, produce and fabricate our houses,gadgets, utility items to maximize profit from its sale thereby comprising withthe quality sending the pollution control for a toss. The willowing smoke fromfactories, the continuously rising dust from the new constructions, unquantifiableinfinite amount of vehicle exhaust has simply replaced the basic components ofair, namely Oxygen, CO2 and nitrogen. We have not yet learnt to modify ourlungs to breath ozone, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals to survive, we have not yet beenable to engineer our guts to digest pesticides, assimilate lead, arsenic and cobalt in our skeleton, and have not beenable to live healthy and happy ever after. We see more people gasping forbreath because they have chronic respiratory diseases like asthma and COPD,more people ceasing to live much before they die because they have lung cancerand more and more children not even know what it is to live normal, healthybecause, thanks to the polluted air, water and food, they are either not born normal(low birthweight, mental retardation, congenital malformations) or acquire theabnormalities even before they speak the first sentence correctly or learn totie their shoelaces.

Since we have not been able to move forward to thatextent that the body can adapt these changes that we call toxic, harmful andhazardous for physical and mental health, the need is to roll back,proverbially speaking, go back to the roots that the mother earth gave us sincethe origin of humanity. And this roll back will mean less cars on the road,less consumption so that there is less production and thus less transport, lesshumans by birth control to top it all. And clean that contaminating layer fromthe skin of mother earth, have more roots so that there are more trees, inother let’s go back to our roots, to the roots of nature. Let life be moreclose to nature and natural than acquired and acclimatized.

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