Asthma and other respiratory diseases are becoming as common as the common cold, and people are scared to venture out without a mask. We are all dying a slow death, thanks to pollution. So what are the authorities doing?
Many of you will remember last year as the year of the smog, which covered the NCR in a thick, sooty blanket of smoke. This year, despite the firecracker ban, air pollution levels hovered around "severe" for most the NCR. While some of us are relieved at this marginal improvement, most of us have pressed the panic button. And why wouldn't we? Asthma and other respiratory diseases are becoming as common as the common cold and people are scared to venture out without a mask.
So what do we do? Do we just give in to this slow death? Or do we rattle the civic authorities into waking up and actually doing something about the problem? Because as much as they would like to play the blame game, it's not just about the firecrackers that the SC banned. It's an infrastructural issue.
Malba piles in vacant lands along Metro corridors, dug-up roads and pavements, neglected service lanes in front of societies, broken and damaged roads, and rampant construction are some of the major sources of dust. Diffusion of dust particles in the air has caused breathing and asthma problems among people. Evening and morning walks in parks have become difficult.
Talking about the perennially dug-up roads, Satya Parakash Singh, a resident of Sector 12, said, “You can see that the service lanes in sectors 12 and 13 are full of dust. After installing cable lines, a portion of both these dug-up roads were left uncovered by the authorities. This is a common sight in Dwarka. Needless to say, these dug-up roads are generating a lot of dust, which in turn is aggravating pollution levels.”
The Metro corridors and vacant plots are also major sources of dust, especially because construction material and malba are callously deposited here. Malba deposits can be easily spotted under the Metro lines in sectors 8, 9 and 10.
Mansi Dahiya, a resident of Sector 10, said, “Malba is also deposited on vacant lands, and it surprises me that the civic authorities do not take any action against this irresponsible practice. Some of these vacant plots are close to residential pockets, which makes the repercussions of dust worse.”
Dilapidated roads, too, are spreading dust in residential areas and marketplaces. A thoroughfare in Sector 11 is a case in point.
Construction sites that are defying rules laid down by NGT are also escalating the quantum of dust particles in the air.
Mahesh Chaudhury, a resident of Sector 14, said, “Civic bodies claim that roads are swept by machines, and hence there is no scope for dust. However, the truth is different. Unless these bodies maintain their infrastructure and keep tabs on illegal construction activities, the menace of uncontrolled dust will remain. In short, as first steps, civic agencies have to repair all roads, implement rules of construction and stop the dumping of malba anywhere they please.”