The goal of ‘Swachh Paryavaran’ can only be achieved with the joint efforts of all key stakeholders of the society

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Shahnaz Husain

One need not be a health expert necessarily to enlist the repercussions of air pollution as those who have been impacted by it can best describe the state of their own health problems which have aggravated over the passage of time, as a result of the polluted air, or smog as we may term it. Though I have always felt elated to be a Delhite, the adverse ramification of being a denizen of the capital city is the humungous “pollution” to which one has to be constantly subjected to. Be it the vehicular pollution, industrial pollution, or the reckless burning of leaves or waste materials in and around residential habitats, there is just no escaping the pollution for those dwelling in the urban belts.

The Swachch Paryavaran Campaign initiated by PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry aims to involve the youth and is supported by the Government of India.

Due to my commitment to “natural care and cure,” I have always believed in protecting the environment and not disturbing it in any way. In fact, I opened the windows of the world to nature, herbal beauty care and eco-friendly products. Eco-friendly products are those that do not lead to pollution or toxicity of the environment. We follow the Ayurvedic system and do not disturb the environment in any way through our manufacturing processes. Our products contain plant extracts and other natural substances, which are biodegradable, unlike synthetic substances. We do not allow animal testing and do not use animal products in our formulations. Our manufacturing processes do not use up valuable energy and do not emit green house gases and other pollutants. We also set up our herb and flower farm near Delhi, following methods of organic farming, using natural composts and fertilizers. This keeps the soil free of chemical pollutants. It also serves the greater purpose of preserving the environment.
The need of the hour is to also contribute towards the cleanliness drive, started by Prime Minister Modi, on a personal and collective level. We should work towards increasing awareness about pollution and the need to maintain cleanliness both at home and outside. The urgent need is to decrease pollutants and achieve a clean country with healthy citizens.

It is sad when many chronic patients have literally, not by choice, but out of compulsion, been forced to shift base to tranquil rural belts with abundant lease of fresh air to avoid further damage to their health. At times, the thought too has crossed my mind to shift base from the city to a more healthy rural area all for the sake of inhaling fresh, clean air.

Amidst all this, one wonders what will happen if the prime land in the rural belts too get acquired sooner or later, in the name of rural industrialization? Ironically in such a scenario, we would be left with a less fewer options for escaping away from the polluted metro cities.
Blame it on the unavoidable pollution in the environment, our general body immunity, or simply the modern day sedentary lifestyle, many people fall sick during the change of season phase, or when there is a sudden rise in the pollution level due to emanation of hazardous and poisonous gases in the atmosphere. Blame it on our lethargic attitude, or the absence of a proactive RWA in some areas, that we as local dwellers, are left to endure the misery as mere mute spectators to incidents of reckless burning of leaves and garbage in our near surroundings by habitual violators. These are violators who need to be severely taken to task for not just polluting the air quality, but for jeopardizing the well being of countless citizens. Due to the gross negligence of such irresponsible people, many are left to bear the brunt of excruciating polluted air due to which their existent ailment only gets aggravated.

Thus the moral of the story is that citizens too have to cohesively play an extremely vital role for keeping the pollution under control by planting trees on a regular basis. Added to this, the citizens need to form a mandatory ‘environment club’ in their respective areas of habitat for keeping a check on those polluting the environment, and for informing the hazardous activities of pollution causing illegal factories and industries operating out of residential belts. Citizens across the length and breadth of the country need to undertake a solemn pledge that henceforth they would not shy away from taking responsibilities and initiatives in matters pertaining to environment and global warming. The collective, and persistent sincere efforts are bound to improve the overall air quality, thereby ensuring a healthy lifestyle for one and all.

In sync with the government’s mission of providing schools with toilets, I have played my own special role in motivating entrepreneurs and corporates to assist the government in realizing their mission of equipping every school with basic toilet facilities. Besides, I never miss an opportunity to spread awareness about the ill effects of pollution, and making society aware about sanitation and basic hygiene.
Another serious cause of concern is ‘water stagnation’ which leads to breeding of mosquitoes. It is supposed to be the biggest cause of dengue. Keeping dengue virus in check is the collective responsibility of the government authorities as well as the citizens, but ironically some still believe it to be the sole responsibility of the government. In coping with the dengue menace, the citizens have an equally significant role to play by not only keeping their surroundings clean, but by also timely reporting about the serious lapses to their concerned municipal authorities. The healthcare fraternity on the other hand, has a major role to play in ensuring the timely care of patients affected with dengue virus, as well as ridding citizens of wrong notions about dengue.
Year after year dengue continues to wreak havoc on the citizens in our country. Sardonically, the capital city is amongst the worst affected cities in the country with many cases of dengue having been reported in the year 2010 according to an official estimate.

For inexplicable reasons, some citizens still show reluctance in allowing the municipal authorities to undertake the fogging exercise at their homes failing to realize that it is in their larger interest and well being. Junk items like tyres etc where there is a strong probability of water stagnation should be disposed in households, and not preserved as treasure pieces. I wonder why authorities and proactive citizens have been inept in exploring a permanent and effective way of coping with epidemics like dengue and malaria. ‘Synergy’ holds the key if people are really serious in defeating life threatening ailments like dengue and malaria in India.

Open litter lying unattended is a usual sight, and no one wishes to take initiative for reporting the matter to the concerned civic authorities. The responsibility of maintaining external hygiene and sanitation standards indubitably rests with the civic agencies, but the onus of keeping the household and surroundings clean rests with their owners and the family members. The most common cause of these ailments are breeding of mosquitoes as well as contamination of food, water and air. The unattended garbage heaps lying outside the eateries, grocery and sweet shops in the market areas needs to be removed regularly. Despite being aware that water stagnation leads to mosquito breeding and subsequently outbreak of epidemics, citizens don’t execute their basic responsibilities. Because of their “chalta hai” attitude, we see outbreaks of epidemics happening in the country year after year.
The goal of ‘Swachh Paryavaran’ can only be achieved with the joint efforts of all key stakeholders of the society.

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