Be the Change
By Mr S Ramadorai.
Today, air pollution is a matter of grave concern for both public health and the environment. It poses numerous risks to human health and is an avoidable cause of death and diseases worldwide. It also has severe detrimental effects on biodiversity and ecosystems, and the quality of life in general.
On this International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies, let us raise awareness about the actions we can take to curb air pollution, and mobilise global efforts towards mitigating air pollution. Because, only with ‘Healthy Air’, can we have a ‘Healthy Life’ and a ‘Healthy Planet’.
To tackle the root causes of air pollution that include emissions from the burning of coal and fossil fuels, we must switch to renewable energy for all our energy demands. There is an urgent need to promote green transportation, adopt better waste management practices, and implement stringent pollution control.
While the government and industries are taking several measures to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels, the real change would happen only when we, as citizens, adopt a greener way of life.
Sustainable measures such as the use of electric vehicles, complete ban on one-time-use plastics and polluting firecrackers, use of public transport, segregation of household waste, conservation of energy, and tree planting drives are all behavioural changes towards a future with cleaner air. As citizens, we have a responsibility to reduce the demand for polluting products, increase the demand for cleaner and greener products, and seek processes and solutions that have minimal impact on the environment.
We must also be empathetic to our fellow citizens who do not have access to better means. For example, helping the underprivileged with warm clothes is a better solution than letting them burn scrap to stay warm in the winters. Bringing citizens from all strata of the society into our collective call for clean air is the way forward.
The choice to make a difference is ours. Let us all be more involved and invested in combating the challenge of air pollution and making our lives and the planet healthier.
The author is the Chairperson of the Public Health Foundation of India and former Vice Chairman, TCS.