Controlling air pollution- Each one of us can make a difference

Dr KK Aggarwal

National President IMA and HCFI
High air pollution in Delhi-NCR has recently dominated the front pages of newspapers, particularly since the last two days when the air quality worsened sharply to hazardous levels. Delhi-NCR continued to be enveloped by a thick smog due to the dangerously high levels of air pollutants leading to a state of public health emergency.

Air pollution is a recurring problem and the authorities undoubtedly need to implement measures to reduce particulate matter in the air. But, air pollution is mainly man-made and because it harms human health, it is of immediate concern to all.

Improving the air quality is a collective responsibility. Each one of us can do something every day to prevent or at least help control the air pollution levels and keep the environment healthy.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Here is how each one of us can make a difference.

* Walk or cycle for short distance commutes or to the neighborhood market.
* Plan and combine all your errands (in one area or close by areas) for one trip.
* Limit driving and carpool.
* Use public transport, as much as possible, for longer distances.
* If you have to use your vehicle, keep it well-maintained for efficient functioning with regular     servicing to reduce harmful exhaust emissions and get pollution check done as required. Follow  speed limits. Avoid buying diesel vehicle.
* Avoid burning candles, dhoop or incense sticks at home or workplace.
* Quit smoking.
*Plant more trees.
*Limit the areas of bare soil by growing grass to reduce the amount of dust.
* Sprinkle water on exposed soil or construction sites regularly to reduce generation of dust.
* Wet mopping the floors at home or workplace.
* Avoid organizing or attending outdoor parties or any other events when AQI crosses 200.
* Be a strong advocate for measures to control emission of air pollutants. Be active participants in activities to fight air pollution such as odd/even vehicle rule.

* Follow all rules and laws as enforced by the state.