The sky of Delhi is starting to fade again. Till last month, the stars which were seen shining in the sky, their brightness has faded and the light of sunlight is dying. For those who have an understanding of the earth and sky of Delhi and the National Capital Region, this situation is shocking. This usually happened around Diwali.
This is currently the situation, so what will happen next month? In his mind, the memories of November 2019 are alive with horror. The air quality had reached a critical stage in those blooming days and the government had to take steps like banning activities like brick kilns, crushers, diesel generators, building construction etc. The situation had deteriorated so much that schools had to declare holidays. Trains arrived late in the morning and airplanes hovering over the skies of Delhi had to divert to other cities. The fog that lives in Delhi at all times proved fatal to the elderly with newborns and young infants. This time, since the beginning of October, the air of Delhi and the National Capital Region has started getting worse. The Ministry of Earth Sciences says that these conditions have arisen due to stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and border areas. The apprehensive people are questioning whether this will aggravate the corona outbreak?
Unfortunately the answer is- ‘Yes.’
I share some research work with you. Harvard University researchers studied about corona virus deaths and hazardous Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 present in the air and found that air pollution caused an eight percent increase in kovid deaths in the US. Germany’s ‘IZA Institute of Labor Economics’ claimed on the basis of one of its studies that the Netherlands showed a relationship between more air pollution and faster spread of Kovid-19. Accordingly, the death rate from corona due to air pollution was found to be up to 21 per cent. A study in Northern Italy also stated that the speed of deaths from kovid due to air pollution was said to be increasing.
However, WHO has emphasized the process of these studies and their data, findings.
Needless to say that a large number of deaths from Kovid have occurred in these three countries. About 1.25 million people have lost their lives in the United States, 36,000 in Italy and 6,700 in the Netherlands. The number of infected in India has reached close to 75 lakh and so far 1 lakh, 13 thousand people have lost their lives. The situation has improved in our country now, the death rate has also come down to 1.5 percent. There is no doubt that the state governments, along with the Center, have fought a fierce battle with Corona. In the last week of March, when it was clear that the epidemic had hit India, we had neither hospitals nor labs nor trained health workers. Despite this, our system was not ready to give up without fighting. You may still remember the picture of that hospital in Mumbai, which shows how a corona-suffering patient is sharing a bed with a dead person. Today, the epidemic graph is falling in India, but these statistics of air pollution warn that the outbreak of the epidemic may return.
Anyway, 7 million people in the world die every year due to air pollution. The reason for such a large number is that pollution increases heart, lung, cancer and respiratory diseases manifold. According to the ‘World Air Quality Report’ released last year, we are ranked number five among the world’s most polluted countries. Not only this, 21 of the top 30 most polluted cities in the world are in our country.
The question arises that why this disaster is becoming stronger year after year? Despite the strict instructions of the Supreme Court, I would like to give the example of Haryana and Punjab to know how serious our government is on this issue. The crocodile tears are shed every year that stubble is being burnt here, while the High Court has said that it should be curbed, but the tussle is continuing between the Center, the State Governments and the farmers. The reason is that most of the harvesting in these two regions is done by machine. These machines harvest about one foot up. As a result, the bottom is left in the field. The farmers complain that instead of burning them, it costs about five to six thousand rupees per acre. The solution to this problem is the ‘Paddy Straw Chopper’, but it costs about one and a half million. The government gives huge subsidies on this, but the farmers are indifferent to it. State governments say that the cost of this harvesting is borne by the Central Government and the Center is cut off by saying that it will provide machines at reduced rates.
The question arises whether our rulers are solving this problem or complicating it.
Actually, our government is more interested in treating the patient than treating the merge, so their solutions are immediate. For example, diesel generators have been banned in Delhi-NCR. In the coming days, nature’s havoc will increase further, then the measures of previous years will be repeated. It is possible that schools closed due to Corona may not open in the capital one or two months, stalled flights should be stopped and restriction should be imposed on every work, which produces dust or smoke. It may show some benefit immediately, but the original problem will remain the same. At present, this situation will give yet another shock to the economy when all the activities which have been disrupted for months are being unlocked.
This is the habit of Indians and also that we find a sense of hope even in the darkest darkness of despair, hence one thing on the go. The Supreme Court has assigned Justice (retd) Madan Bhimrao Lokur to oversee the work related to stubble. There are many examples when careless politicians have been shown to be attentive to the fear of the whip of the court. Why should we expect betterment in this case also?