Playing With Fireworks
As defiance wins over compliance with residents flouting ban on firecrackers imposed by the Supreme Court (SC), Delhi’s Air Quality Index (AQI) has crossed 100 points overnight, turning the national capital into a gas chamber once again after recording best air quality in eight years on Sunday following to a brief spell of rain. The violation of the court order clearly indicates the failure of the local administration in enforcing the ban. Now, all eyes will be on the next move of the apex court. As usual, political game has already started with the ruling party accusing the opposition of conspiring with the anti-government forces to reap rich political dividends. On the other hand, the opposition claims that the Delhi government has completely failed in controlling air pollution and has lost the moral right to govern. All these charges and counter charges only proves lack of sincerity on the part of both the government and the opposition in tackling the menace, as the present situation needs far more commitment and timely actions to make Delhi a livable place.
Not long ago, Delhi was a paradise for environmentalists as it was completely free from pollution. With plenty of greenery, water bodies and fewer cars, Delhi used to be an ideal city to live in. But things started changing when the city began to expand, virtually catching the civic bodies on a wrong foot. These bodies were simply incompetent to deal with the situation, resulting in rampant unplanned development. Human settlements came up in far flung areas devoid of connectivity and proper sanitation system. Rampant destruction of greeneries, filling of water bodies and increased use of private vehicles helped Delhi earn the ‘world’s most polluted city’ tag.
It is possible to check the deteriorating air quality if the local administration has the courage to root out the major source of pollution. However, the Delhi government is still undecided on introduction of the odd-even traffic scheme to reduce carbon emissions even as the citizens are finding difficult to breathe. The much-touted plan came to a naught due to the hesitancy shown by the authorities in imposing strict norms to keep the air clean. Asking the people to work from home and not to venture out of their homes unless absolutely necessary, could have helped avoid the hazardous situation the citizens are facing today. The authorities also failed to mobilize popular opinion against bursting of firecrackers, a ban imposed by the SC considering the gravity of the situation. This failure has made Delhi a ‘hotspot of air pollution’ in India.