Sunita Narain: facing, not running from Delhi’s pollution
Air pollution in Delhi is bad, really bad. Based on measurements of ambient air pollution taken between 2008 and 2013, the World Health Organization reports that Delhi’s air contains more of the most dangerous pollutant particles than any other city in the world. These particles, called PM 2.5 particles, are linked to all sorts of health consequences ranging from minor infections to high rates of childhood asthma and cardiovascular disease. PM 2.5 is a killer, and cities with high levels of PM 2.5 cannot afford to ignore it.
Sunita Narain, the Director General of Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment, recently penned an opinion article urging those who leave the city in response to increasing pollution to rethink their decision.
Leaving, she writes, “would mean accepting defeat.” It ignores all of the solutions to the problem, most of which are obvious but not easily achieved.
“Now the answer is to restrain the growth of cars and build convenient and modern public transport system so that even the rich do not use their vehicles. Now the answer is to drastically improve the quality of fuel and technology used in trucks or find ways for them to bypass cities. Now the answer is to find more CNG to use in industries and to ensure that there is tight enforcement of rules from institutions that have been whittled away deliberately.”
Many people cannot to move away to safeguard their loved ones from pollution, even if they wanted.
Narain eloquently implores us to keep fighting in the face of difficult, if not impossible challenges.
Every challenge in history seemed impossible until it was overcome.