Hundreds of photos of smog covered Delhi have flooded my Facebook timeline. It is obviously getting worse as winter sets in.
But can we really, honestly and truly blame the current government for it? Isn't this degradation a result of years of neglect and oversight? Aren't we all to be blamed for it - I lived in Delhi collectively for 9 years - when we used our personal vehicles instead of public transport to get to college or when we ignored and overlooked a worker burning a heap of garbage right outside our housing complex?
Newspapers say - Its Delhi today, Tomorrow your city. Despite the legislative interventions Delhi has had over the past few decades, (CNG vehicles, moving of industries outside city limits, garbage segregation etc.) the city has spiralled downwards. Other Indian cities and towns will follow suit and will reach Delhi’s level of despair faster than they can blink.
And yet, all of us know, that we will do sweet nothing about it.
We will blame the government, but when they bring in legislation (such as banning plastic bags) we will use every opportunity to squirm out of it ("bhaiya, aaj panni de do, kal se yaad rakhungi.")
We won't segregate our garbage. We won't stop buying cars (3,4,5 in a 4 member family). We won't stop using plastic bags or non degradable, throwaway plastic/thermocol plates, cups, spoons, mineral water bottles etc. at weddings and parties. We won't recycle goods because its too 'cheap'. We won't upcycle for the same reason. We won't save water or electricity (we can afford it). We won't adopt rainwater harvesting or vermiculture (who will look after the systems/we can afford not to have them). We won't switch to solar panels (what is the need?).
We will take pride in consumerism because heck, thats what we earn for! We will complain complain complain and blame blame blame.
We will want industries to move out of residential areas but won't think before we buy a house in an area where industries mushroomed long before builders decided to construct apartments there.
We will want the government to clean up our rivers, but will nonchalantly throw 'pooja samagri' and the like into an already polluted water body.
We won't plant trees - thats for school kids and civic bodies to take care of.
We want clean air, but we want to do nothing for it.
And so, we deserve it. Delhi deserves it as much as the rest of us.
Because like charity, this also should have begun in our homes.