Netas, We Want Bijli, Sadak, Paani - And Swachh Hawa

Published: January 09, 2018 18:17 IST
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Here are my suggested 10 resolutions for cleaner air:

1. Bijli, sadak, paani - and swachch hawa: Unless there's voter pressure, elected governments really have no political motive to implement anti-air pollution plans with any real urgency.

2. Spread awareness about pollution causes through school classrooms, doctors and health services, public service ads and so on, from mega-cities down to panchayats.

3. Ban diesel for private cars and SUVs (including taxis) all over India with effect from 5 years. But announce it now so that people can plan ahead and cut their losses.

4. One Nation, One Plan to contain air pollution. Sources of pollution, from vehicles to industries to coal power plants, are the same - whether in Ghaziabad, where pollutants are likely to linger and push up levels, or Goa, where wind is likely to blow pollutants away.

5. The pollution crisis is way beyond Delhi. The headlines and discourse largely tends to be around Delhi and neighbouring areas. This was OK a couple of years ago given it's a mega-city. But focusing just on Delhi plays down the crisis - and solutions.

6. Uttar Pradesh is a highly, perhaps the most, polluted state as official and other data has repeatedly reported this season.

7. Install more monitors, more rapidly. Delhi has roughly the same number of real-time air quality monitors as all of UP which is over 150 times larger.

8. Use India's scientists, data scientists, policy experts - they've done enough studies, made enough plans to clean India's air twice over! But execution, implementation and policing is where these fall short. And that's a government problem.

9. Coopt India's massive auto lobby which is currently a hurdle to quite some extent. But with their massive R&D resources they can - actually, have to - be a key part of the solution. Vehicular pollution is a major pollution source so the auto sector's opposition to change is understandable but it can't be business as usual any longer. The WHO labelled diesel emissions as carcinogenic way back in 2012, yet more & more diesel-engined models have been churned out.

10. Last but not least, the Union government should override states and take over policy and implementation. The air pollution crisis is of epic proportions. Various reports from agencies like EPCA show that state governments have just not got their act together or coordinated smoothly and apolitically with each other.

(Chetan Bhattacharji is Managing Editor at NDTV)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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