Delhi is on the cusp of a breakdown. The toxic smog has enveloped the city and pollution levels are just more than enough to suffocate you.
To give you an idea about how bad the Air Quality is, the air that you breathe is equivalent to smoking about 26.5 cigarettes per day. Well, the number of cigarettes increases as air quality deteriorates. Non- smokers be wary!
Now, even as the average Delhiite continues to worry and wonder about the alarming pollution levels, and not forget, like a disciplined citizen of the country complies with all govt orders that come his way, let’s try and figure out what our netas are upto!
Over the past 3 days, a raging debate on air pollution is ensuing in the Indian Parliament.
Even as much to the dismay of the Indian citizen, many, actually half of Delhi MPs, majority of the Cabinet and state ministers and almost all prominent leaders from the opposition benches chose to skip the pollution debate on Tuesday with the house witnessing empty chairs and vacant galleries, some have returned to work.
The MPs, while trying to find a solution to the gargantuan pollution problem have been seen throwing brickbats at each other. The BJP and AAP have been at loggerheads over who did their best to contain the problem.
On Thursday, BJP MP Vijay Goel lambasted the Delhi govt for allegedly doing nothing on the issue of air pollution. The MP displayed water bottles, masks, pictures of Delhi govt ads in the house to point out the shortcomings of the Delhi govt ( for which he earned the rebuke of the speaker). He alleged that the Delhi govt’s claim of having to try to combat pollution was actually a scam!
The AAP chose not to sit mum. AAP MP Sanjay Singh advised the BJP to look into its own backyard. Wielding his Brahmastra, the MP claimed that it isn’t Delhi which is in the list of top 10- most polluted cities of the world anymore, but cities of Western UP are.
Another interesting highlight of the pollution debate in Parliament was the mention of 16-year-old Climate change activist Greta Thunberg’s thunderous ‘How dare you’ speech at the UN Climate Summit. BJP MP KJ Alphons reminded the parliamentarians that Greta’s remark was directed at all of them.
Apart from this, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, who came riding an electric car to the Parliament a few days ago, replied on the pollution debate on Thursday. The Minister mentioned that there was nothing less than a need for a ‘Jan Andolan’ to combat air pollution.
While all this was happening in the Rajya Sabha, guess what the strength of the house was?
Several benches still remained empty as the honourable MPs missed the vital discussion.
As I write this, the Air quality index near JLN stadium stands at 399. That points to the fact that the air we breathe today is HAZARDOUS.
The weatherman has predicted far worse days to come.
While our politicians continue to bicker and indulge in mudslinging rather than finding a consensus on solving the air pollution problem, for a moment think of those who sleep on Delhi’s pavements every night. Tonight, they sleep wrapping the blanket of smog and toxics for not having the luxury of a roof on their heads, forget air purifiers.
(Article contributed by Kitty Behal, News Editor)