Save thy planet

For once, try ditching the car and walk to buy groceries. You’ll realise you’ve made a difference, for your children

H. Kishie Singh

“For your children...” This is a quote from the Torah, the holy book of the Jews. The Jews have a tremendous sense of sacrifice, which probably explains their survival for over 2,000 years.

‘For your children’ means being selfless and leaving a legacy for the coming generations. Most Indians are taught this but, alas, we have ignored it. We are not doing anything for our children. We are indulging ourselves. Our big cars with bigger engines are the biggest pollutants on the planet. This is the point of this week’s column. The planet is being destroyed by the internal combustion engine, the single largest contributor to pollution on the planet.

You can do your bit. A drop at a time fills the ocean. Every time you fire up your car, you are contributing to about 80 per cent of air pollution in your area. The proof of this lies 250 km away in Delhi, the most polluted city in the world. Thanks to the about 10 lakh vehicles crawling around. 

Has anyone stopped using the car? No. Is anyone using the Metro? No. Has anyone thought of leaving their car at home and using the new taxi services? All these cars run on CNG. This would instantly reduce toxic emissions. Also, reduce the number of cars on the road and pressure in parking lots. 

Has anyone organised car pools? Five people using one car would mean four less cars on the road. That would be immediate relief to all concerned, especially, ‘for your children’, who can then inherit fresh air.

For the fact, 90 per cent of Indians don’t own a vehicle; 10 per cent are poisoning the population.

Anand Mahindra says, “Cities will be living hell if cars keep on increasing”. Fourteen out of the fifteen most polluted cities in the world are in India. According to Lancet, a highly respected British medical Journal, 25 lakh Indians died due to air pollution in 2017. Of this, 1.25 lakh were children below the age of five. Your automobile, with the internal combustion engine, is the killer.

“Our fate is in our hands. The world is counting on us!” said Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General at the COP 24 meeting held recently in Katowice, Poland. World leaders from 200 countries met to discuss climate change. 

Sir Richard Attenborough, actor, producer-turned-naturalist, said this was a man-made disaster of global scale: “Collapse of our civilisation and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon!” All the world leaders agreed.

What is it that you, as an individual, can do? Use your car sparingly. Start car pools. Start using public transport. Don’t use your SUV’s to go to the market to buy bread, butter and eggs. That is not a shopping trip, it’s an ego trip! Hello chaps, look what I got! Get rid of your ego, ‘for your children’s’ sake! 

Another disgusting and despicable habit! Chauffer-driven memsahib goes shopping. The chauffer waits in the car and keeps the engine running and AC on! Memsahib, the cool cat, must have a cool car! Utterly thoughtless.

Happy New Year and Happy Motoring!

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