April 22. That day again when we post a beautiful picture on Facebook or Twitter, greet each other on World Earth Day, appreciate the school going kids who bring home a plant and go on with our lives as usual. This year, let’s do something different. Let us commemorate Earth Day as it should be – by celebrating the Earth and its abundance, by pledging to protect the greenery, the natural resources, the beauty and the bounty that our planet has generously bestowed upon us, by translating our vision of a clean and green India into action. “Be the change you want to see in the world,” said Mahatma Gandhi. Indeed it is time to make the transition from armchair activism to environmental protection.
Be The Change…
Our country fares rather poorly when it comes to air pollution. According to a recent report by Greenpeace India, air pollution alone is responsible for about 1.2 million deaths in the country each year. Air quality in most Indian cities falls short of WHO standards. Our actions are rather straightforward and simple –
- Use bicycles as far as possible
- Do not burn plastics, leaves, and trash
- Opt for car pools and public transport
- Support stringent vehicle emission standards and reduction of emission from factories and plants
Increasing instances of drought and ground water depletion are the result of climate change. We outrage when we hear of farmer suicides in the country but have we done our bit to reverse the damaging effects of global warming? Our actions must reflect our concern for the survival of the human race. India is one of the worst affected when it comes to ground water depletion. The burgeoning population, high concentration of industries and reckless urbanization is making matters worse.
- Plant trees – as many as you can, as often as you can
- Adopt rainwater harvesting techniques
- Opt for solar powered devices and solar rooftops
- Reduce carbon footprint
Waste management is another damaging battle that India is currently fighting. Lack of adequate waste separation, processing and composting facilities in rural and urban areas alike is the main cause for the decline in health and hygiene in the country. While the recent drive by the government to construct toilets in the country is a commendable one, till about 2014 there were 130 million households that lacked toilets.
- Do not litter or throw trash in the open
- Invest in a composting machine for the neighbourhood
- Construct a toilet if your household lacks one
- Promote waste management awareness
We celebrate Earth Day each year to remind ourselves of the natural resources that our planet generously offers us aplenty. But with such a precious gift also comes an enormous responsibility to use them judiciously, conserve them and to hand them to our future generations. Recklessness and human callousness can be calamitous to this planet that we call our home. Earth Day, then, is more of a call for action than a celebration. Let us step out this year and set an example for the rest of the world by making India a cleaner and greener place to live in.