Share Your Story
Poor air quality is the harsh reality today. It is contributing to global warming, climate change and severely damaging the health of people.
What is it that bothers you the most about the quality of the air we breathe? Have you suffered because of air pollution and how do you plan on changing things to tackle it? Share your story with us.
Here a few initial responses we received:
Rathna, 33, Chennai: The only way to control air pollution is to make people understand the severe effects of the same. If people don’t understand it they should be made to understand it, through severe laws and regulations. If children in a family aren’t disciplined, the parents or elders discipline them; the same is true for people who are the children of the government.
Roshni, 24, Bangalore: People should start planting more trees. It seems like the only way to purify air. I suffer from bronchitis, don’t think my health will improve unless there’s cleaner air to breathe.
Kameshwaran Janarthanan, 36, Chennai: Comparatively, Chennai may have lesser pollution than Delhi, but it’s getting worse day by day. The increase in vehicles and the fact that Chennai is the only industrial destination in Tamil Nadu isn’t helping the situation either. Kgs of dust get settled inside homes which is causing a lot of respiratory illnesses in kids and elder people. The government needs to act on it before we reach a point where we’d be going to the hospital everyday instead of our offices.
Debabrata Sahoo, 35, Sunnyvale CA: I was 10 years old when me and my family moved to Rourkela, Orissa, in 1991. It is a great city buzzing with activity and good-natured people. But, within a few months of moving, I started having health issues. My eyes would turn red and irritate me through the day. I couldn’t concentrate on studies either because of this. The Rourkela Steel Plant was the heart and soul of the city. It was affecting the health of many people like me. I was diagnosed with Trachoma. After several sittings, it got better. Although I had to miss a lot of exams because one of my eyes were bandaged. We moved out after 4 years, but the damage was done. My eyes are still sensitive and I carry soothing drugs with me all the time.
A Ahmed, 45, Vijaywada: Pollution has exceed its limit in this new capital city. I think it’s because of more and more private vechicles on the roads, no control on 3 wheelers, and the poor state of public transport system. I feel that more than us, it’s perhaps the traffic police constables who are affected by pollution. They stay on roads without any breathing protection and are constantly exposed to harmful pollutants. Also, heavy vechicles like lorries should be asked to ply only on outer ring roads so that the level of pollution can be curtailed. Lack of cycling tracks, cycle rentals, secured cycle stands at prime locations discourages citizen from using green modes of travel. Politicains, NGOs and envirnomentalists needs to concentrate on these citizen issues and help in providing possible solutions. Also, I feel that steps to avoid pollution should be a major part of the responsibilities of elected persons, and the results should be frequently conveyed to the citizens.
Nikhil Mehta, 38, Gurgaon: For almost 2 years I drove from Gurgaon to Noida everyday for work. While I drove a good sedan, it could never filter completely the pollution that was omnipresent. In February 2015, I was diagnosed with Esnophilia & a damaged respiratory system. I was bed-ridden for 2 months. I haven’t yet recovered fully. My resistance is very weak. I feel bad for all those who drive across NCR, pay taxes to earn there daily bread. Basic health services int he country are poor, and the government isn’t doing anything to tackle pollution.
Allwyn D, 33, Mumbai: I live very close to a big dumping ground in Mumbai’s Hari Om Nagar, Mulund East. The dumping ground is a hill as tall as 4-5 floors. The stench from it is intolerable, and the flies and mosquitos arising from it uncontrollable. The dumpers also drag a lot of loose soil and dirt onto the Eastern Express Highway every day resulting in either muck in rains or dust in summers/winters. The icing on the cake is, people travelling on this highway everyday get stuck at the toll and end up inhaling this dust and dirt. The government chooses to ignore this and we die a little everyday.
Sougata Das, 35, Hyderabad: I travel abroad a lot and live in cities like Toronto, London, Sydney and Melbourne. Every time I return to Hyderabad, my nose starts flowing through the day because of some pollution agent. I did not suffer from this symptom until 2011. I found out in 2012 that it’s because of some polluting agent.
Dheeban, 34, Delhi: I used to think I have pretty good immune system and fitness. I have lived in various small towns of India and abroad. I never fell ill as frequently as I keep falling sick now ever since I have moved to Delhi. There used to be times when I could not even remember the last time I visited a doctor. However, now, I don’t go more than two weeks without a cold, cough or some form of nasal/throat infection. Once infected, it does not go away for months. But, if I visit my hometown for a week, then the cold or cough goes away. Indian cities definitely need to improve the air quality. We’re dying a slow death.
Maitreya Ashwin Chauhan, 20, Pune: My college isn’t very far from home, I walk it every day. However, the pollution emitted by vehicles is extremely suffocating and makes me regret my decision to walk. I don’t have a vehicle; I just walk faster to reach my destination when the pollution bothers me. When I walk some longer distance, I cover my mouth and nose to filter the air. It makes breathing difficult, but it seems like the only option. Perhaps, more bridges or skyways will save pedestrians from directly breathing the hazardous air being released from vehicles.
Khawaja M. Hassan, 40, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: The Killer Within is the Sick Building Syndrome! People in the UAE spend considerable time indoors — either at home, in the office or in shopping malls. This exposes them to indoor pollutants that have the potential to cause considerable damage to health.
Sivee Chawla, 30+, Delhi: We have switched to vinegar based solution to clean up at home instead of synthetic detergents. We have been trying to reduce pollution indoors and take up more sustainable ways of leading lives. Also, instead of using AC for cooling purposes, we have planted more trees and maintained the public garden (in our DDA society) that surrounds our house. This garden, earlier a dump yard, is now full of trees. We’re all reaping benefits of the fresh and cool air the trees provide during summer.
The purpose for anyone to live is to stay happy. And happiness is a consequence of what one experiences in his life day to day.
I am a resident of Chennai and my morning begins like no other individual – Lazy, tired and reluctant to go to work. And with tremendous effort I freshen up, have my breakfast and kick-start my vehicle to go to office. And I am in a state of bother, even before I am at my work place. With no visor on my helmet, I am one of those unlucky souls that is forced to breathe “Nature’s Air”. Stuck behind an auto-rickshaw, I inhale the fumes of white smoke coming out from the “unchecked” exhaust. I try to hold my breath and squeeze through narrow gaps to stand in between 2 SUVs. The heat from the HVAC systems makes me sweat. I can feel my skin burn. I miss the evening breeze from the Marina beach.I wait for the signal to go green. And when it does, I speed to the front in search of free space. I realize I am claustrophobic in a Traffic signal. Then, blast! a gush of black smoke from a bus that is just leaving a bust stand picking up commuters. I hold my breath again and breeze past this darkness. With further exchanges with Taxi drivers who drive at their will and dodging cyclists who shift lanes in a flash, I finally arrive at my office. Finally I enter my building that is centralized with AC. I feel glad it is cold but I am still disappointed. Not because of work, but for the lack of fresh air. I am in search of this for over a year and I have failed to find it.
They say, Air is all around us. It is true. But this air – I cannot breathe. Will I ever be able to breathe FRESH AIR?