Why be Eco-Conscious?

The Guardian recently did an elaborate article on Beijing’s air pollution. No I am not talking of everyday air pollution that we worry about on our way to work. The author called it “Airpocalypse”, very apt title for the situation in the city. Imagine a city where you are advised to wear masks every time you step out, you are asked to stay indoors as much as possible, you need to follow strict air safely measures in your buildings, where smog is there to accompany you all year round, you are told that it’s not safe to play football outside and hence schools have to build an indoor football grounds – and a lot more unbelievable things, that come right out of sci-fi movie. You visit Beijing and you will find traffic pollution of cities like Bangalore a stroll in a park in comparison. But worry not, as we are slowing progressing towards the state Beijing has reached.

Air pollution aside, there are many other environmental issues we come across in our everyday lives. Floods and droughts are everywhere. They are now become a norm or sorts in fact. Rivers are drying up faster than usual. Oceans are spreading towards our lands. Every year we feel the heat was unbearable. The cities which never saw much cold are getting cooler in the winter now. Our land is getting polluted and rivers are beyond imagination. Plastic is practically everywhere, killing tons of animals and polluting our ground water. It’s said that we passed stone-age, then ice-age. But now it’s only garb-age.

We keep buying things that we ‘think’ we need and when we don’t really find much usage, we dump them. We don’t even bother to check where it goes beyond our house. It should be just out of our house, as of course we don’t want to live in a dump. But we have no problem dumping our waste in someone else’s backyard. Yes, the areas near landfills are some of the most uninhabitable places, some to dangerously life-threatening levels.

One would blame the Citizens of Beijing for such an extreme situation they have got themselves into. That would have been true IF only every second thing we buy had not been made in China. Most branded companies outsource their production to China. So merely by buying these products we contribute to the misery of the people living in this one of the most polluted city in the world.

There certainly are issues with laws and regulations. Governments are certainly the one to blame for the appalling implementation of the regulations and also some of the unjust laws. While activists are trying to clean that mess, it’s also responsibility of the citizens to take part in the action in whatever capacity possible. It’s said that if one is not a part of the solution, (s)he is a part of the problem. So let’s all be a part of the solution in our own ways – that is by changing our lifestyles, becoming more eco-conscious, buying responsible and not buying too much, educating ourselves about issues that relates to the environment. Of course one could also go beyond this and take part in spreading the word and voicing our opinions whenever possible, but Individual Environmental Responsivity is the first step towards the better future for all.

by Sejal Parikh

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