By D N Singh
‘One cannot have the cake and eat it too’ and it is a saying that demands a balancing act in life as well. Development and pollution are two parallel sides of human need caught in a strange crosscurrent of choices.
So merely running along with one and ignoring the other is not easy and whenever such balances are compromised, the end result remains counterproductive.
Disease and that too unknown ones and, a discernable impact on the life span. Who knew that the footprints of Spanish Flu (1918) would be still there and now the new enemy, Coronavirus, so far remains a mystery.
Round the year road constructions, private constructions and movement of more than permissible number of vehicles are reasons contributing to the problem. However, we all forget that, on the altar of development, the green heritage is given a premature burial.
White collar class and political leaders who remain, more or less, insulated from the dangerous cycle of toxic hazards, can always be seen easily with convictions but seldom any action on the ground.
Look at the Climate Summit, Cope Glasgow, there were serious brain-storming and measures were underlined to control the menace at a war-footing.
But sadly, not much has been accomplished since, for whatever reasons. It is not only a coordinated contribution but a self-less voluntarism that looks direly wanting.
Once one of the cleanest cities, Bhubaneswar, in fact, was conceived to be located on patches of hillocks and foothills virtually and, which was more assuring, was the green cover the location wore then.
It pains to read that, Bhubaneswar air quality index, according to the WHO recommendations at US AQI figure was 184 with a concentration level of PM2 was recorded as 120.3 pg/m2. Yet it remains steady at 100.
Now, Bhubaneswar is one of the top two cities in India where the air pollution level is said to be very unhealthy. Which is surely baffling and worrisome.
It is time all concerned must come out of the rhetoric. Same is the case with Bhubaneswar which failed “to follow the regulations”, revealed the Air Quality Life Index(AQLI) compiled by Energy Policy Institute of the University of Chicago.
According to the traffic wing of the police in Bhubaneswar, roughly about ten lakh vehicles run inside the city and this is besides, the light vehicles and heavy vehicles from neighboring areas which pass through the NH everyday.
There is no break in the toll collection by NH! Going up to lakhs at each gate, but the tardy pace at which the construction work moves can flummox anybody. Imagine the pollution these works contribute and in winter it doubles forcing the majority to inhale the hazardous air which affects the lungs directly.
More the traffic congestion on the stretches of the roads or flyovers in the making, the emission of carbon dioxide from the vehicles get multiplied.
Statistics are scary and according to poison in the air trial, including Bhubaneswar, six cities in Odisha are among 102 most polluted cities in the country.
Besides the polluting activities the restoration of the forestry still can be viewed as the primary steps. Although the chief minister of Odisha had on many occasions given thrust to plantations but the departments concerned seem lacking to match the needs.
About the Author:
DN Singh is a Bhubaneswar-based senior journalist.
This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with the www.prameyanews.com