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While the government and infrastructure have a major responsibility in reducing pollution, is there anything we as individuals and families do?
I have been living in Delhi for almost a decade and a half now, the air pollution has gone only from bad to worse in spite of increasing awareness and campaigns for the environment.
According to me a huge lacuna is that parents are not actively taking up making their homes and lifestyles eco-friendly, so whatever environment-saving messages and learning children get from schools and campaigns it gets defeated in our homes.
Parents fail to realize that air pollution contributes to 7 million premature deaths annually. Some vulnerable populations like children and elderly along with pets are more susceptible to the ill-effects of pollution. In developing countries like India women still are the worst affected groups due to household air pollution.
I feel families have a huge role to play in a paradigm shift about how environment is perceived and treated. If families take upon themselves living the eco-friendly way, it can make a huge difference in overall treatment of environment and action against pollution.
So what can parents change or do in their day to day lives to reduce their carbon footprint and actively take upon themselves to reduce pollution throughout the year?
Most city homes are mainly dependent on electricity to run most of their gadgets, high-rises use lifts, and escalators too. The use of these gadgets and the generation of electricity also causes pollution and global warming.
If families and homes reduce their energy use, they can directly help in improving air quality and curbing greenhouse gas emissions. If families actively work on conserving energy at home they will not only help the environment but also save money!
Most urban cities now have multiple automobiles, public transport is often not optimally used.
Families often forget and overlook the environment when it comes to festivals and personal events like birthdays and wedding etc. Gaudy and lots of lights, crackers and vehicles are used in these events. A lot of single-use plastic is also used which ultimately chokes the rivers and leads to many kinds of pollution.
Celebrations can be made eco-friendly, events can be commemorated by planting trees or a nature visit/walk.
A few conventional practices like kitchen gardens, growing your own herbs even in pots in urban homes are not just good for the environment but fir the family’s health too. Each member can be a plant parent to a few pots and look after these. Also families must purchase locally grown food as much as possible.
A lot of what we consume travels thousands of kilometers in plastic to reach us through pollution-causing vehicles to get to our plate! Buying local produce reduces fuel-driven traffic, and hence pollution related to long-distance trucking and shipping.
This is probably the easiest and most important step adults in families can do to make the air better for themselves and others around them. No family member must be allowed to smoke indoors and families can and must support measures to make all public places smoke-free.
Cigarette smoke has a lots of dangerous particles that are capable of remaining in the air even long after a cigarette has been extinguished and thus being dangerous for all that come in contact with it even passive smokers.
Image source: YouTube
Pooja Priyamvada is a columnist, professional translator and an online content and Social Media consultant.
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