A couple of weeks back the smoggy state of Delhi was the talk of the World. Reaching some unprecedented levels, the air quality showed dangerous figures. A lot of emergency measures were taken like closing schools, banning construction activity and quadruple increase in parking charges to reduce exhaust emission from private vehicles. At last what came to rescue was some timely rain and winds. Once that happened, everyone was thankful, the issue became less important and things started coming back to normal.
Working from our Tehri office, I completely forgot this smog issue until today when I received a phone from a friend living in Delhi. The frustration was clearly visible in her voice, this is how the conversation went:
Me: So how is everything there in Delhi?
Deepti: Not good at all, “Winter is coming.”
(Okay! Game of Throne reference, she is lazy like me and it will be cold.)
Me: Ya it gets pretty cold there.
Deepti: “This time with Winter we will have White Walkers too.”
(Now that was overdramatic, right?)
In a confused state, I asked her what’s the issue to which she replied, “With winter the smog will be back in Delhi.” The conversation shifted to other topics but I could not shake this discussion away. Breathing, one of the most basic requirements, is dangerous. How can we live in a place like this where we continuously worry about toxic clouds?
Government is taking measures like shutting down thermal plants, de-sulphurization of them, opening peripheral expressway, banning the import of pet coke and eliminating agriculture stubble burning. But will this be sufficient? 18.98 million people live in 1,484 km square. (2012 census). The place is overpopulated and is already taking in far far more than it can handle. It also needs to breathe.
Maybe an alternative solution will be to let Delhi breathe.
This was one of the prominent reason why we decided to work from Tehri as well. The city is overcrowded, resources are scarce and the hassle arising from this consumes & wears you in and out. With the knowledge economy, we are living in, location is not a barrier to work. And if it so then why not let our metropolitan cities breathe some more?