One of the first things I do, on waking up every morning, is to check the air quality index, which I often share on social media, on my running Insta feed, like so :
For those of you who don’t know me, I live in New Delhi, which has the unenviable reputation of being the most polluted city on the planet.
In the winters, our air is so toxic that you can smell it, taste it, feel it. Your eyes sting, everyone is coughing and spluttering, and we are all outraged.
Then the summer comes, and we forget.
But the pollution remains.
Never doubt it.
But we all get fooled, even old cynics like yours truly!
I was running in my local Biodiversity Park yesterday – a place with lots of trees and greenery, so naturally cleaner than much of Delhi -and there I was gazing up at the deep blue sky and smiling…and caught myself just in time, before I said something foolish…
Just ‘cos the sky is blue, Christine, doesn’t mean the air is clean.
And that is exactly the problem.
We all have such short memories, and because the sky doesn’t look grey and horrid, and the air doesn’t taste vile, we foolishly imagine that our air isn’t all that dangerous at this time of the year
But it is.
Our air is toxic.
PLEASE take time and read the excellent article (below) from the Hindustan Times 2 days ago.
It is spot on.
As the author points out, in the skewed reality in which we Delhi-ites are forced to live, our “moderate” is still 2.5 or 3.5 higher than the WHO safe norms.
We cannot afford to be complacent about our toxic air.
General elections are approaching (sadly for me I cannot vote in India) but without anything resembling a green party or a green manifesto, I’m not really sure where that leaves us all.
The next day, I read about the State of Global Air Report 2019.
I’ll leave you to read the report at your leisure, but please note this one fact:
“Air pollution caused the deaths of 1.2 million people in India in 2017.”
WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE?
THE DEMANDS FOR OUR GOVERNMENT TO PUT A STOP TO THIS CRISIS?
Why are we all so complacent?
I’m in touch with a company based here in the Delhi NCR called Nirvana Being, and tomorrow I’m going to run with them, using one of their sports masks.
It’s shocking that things have got to this state, but what option do we all have?
Move to another city?
Stop going outside?
So, I ask you, what do we do?
Any Delhi friends, runners and non-runners alike, if you feel like joining us at India Gate tomorrow, Sunday 7 April, at 7am, you can see and try out the special sports masks, and talk to people who are trying their best to combat the poor air quality.
Do come if you can.