OPINION: Lockdown was a chance to rectify, instead we messed up more

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OPINION: Lockdown was a chance to rectify, instead we messed up more - We The World
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While the country and the world are slowly coming to terms with the new normal amidst the global pandemic, we don’t seem to have learned our lesson yet.

The pollution level in Delhi was at an all-time low during the nationwide lockdown owing to the ongoing pandemic. 

But as we see the lockdown being lifted, the smog is back to haunt Delhi. What with the ongoing pandemic, this poses an even greater health risk to the residents.

According to the Delhi, Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) data Air Quality Index measured at Delhi’s ITO area and Anand Vihar recorded as 461 and 478 respectively, Monday. Both are considered unhealthy.

With the onset of winter, air pollution in Delhi and the NCR region are expected to skyrocket, owing to the crop stubble burning by farmers. 

This time though, vehicle and industrial emissions as a result of the resumption of economic activities are also said to add to this. 

A study by the Harvard School of Public Health pointed out that air pollution is linked with higher Covid 19 death rates.

Sure, the government has banned the use of firecrackers this Diwali to deal with the issue of pollution but is that going to stop us from being rebellious and careless? 

In spite of the ban, there will still be some of us who refuse to adhere to the rules and regulations put in place. 

Didn’t we get a glimpse of it during the lockdown? Does the government have any measures in place to put a check on this?

Have we found a way to reduce vehicular and industrial emissions? Do we have any measures put in place to avoid the burning of crop stubble?

Green Gears, an NGO by S Rajan who is a professor at Raghu Engineering College, uses a variety of crop stubble and agro-waste to make eco-friendly products. 

Another eco-friendly option to crop stubble burning was proposed by agricultural scientists at the National Centre of Organic Farming who came up with the ‘ Waste Decomposer

This are cost-effective yet less publicized. Why can’t we promote such options and ensure these come into practice?

This is just one part of the story though. What about the masks that have become an integral part of our lifestyle now? How are we disposing of these? 

Discarded masks and PPE kits are being found washed up on the shores, adding to the increasing pollution of oceans. Turns out, this has become a new type of pollution.

Very recently, a movie shoot, ended in the garbage, including masks and PPE kits being disposed of in the village of Nerul in Goa. 

Lokancho Ekvott (Unity of the People), a social movement that works to protect the heritage of Goa, reported how a shoot by Karan Johar’s Dharma production left tonnes of garbage strewn in that area.

The Production House was then issued a show-cause notice by the Entertainment Society of Goa.

The government as well as the production house are equally at fault here. While permitting a shoot, arrangements should have been put in place for safe disposal of waste by both, the production house and the government.

Not just this but our attitude towards the entire crisis has been careless and casual. We’ve been venturing out without masks, gathering in crowds at places. 

Social distancing has gone for a toss. People can be seen crowding in buses and trains while commuting daily. 

In Goa, we have scores of tourists heading to the state without any tests being carried out while covid cases continue to rise. 

States have opened up their borders without any restrictions. People are free to do as they please. The urinating and spitting at public places has returned. 

In an attempt to revive the failing economy, we have put the lives of the common people at stake. Is this the new normal we’ve all been promoting and talking about? 

Have we still not learned our lessons from the pandemic and the lockdown? While opening up businesses is needed for the economy to survive but should that come at the cost of the lives of the common people? 

The lockdown was lifted to revive the economy. However, people have been using it as a free pass to act recklessly. 

If the government is responsible for the revival of the economy, isn’t it also responsible for the survival of the citizens? 

While the lockdown was lifted with various precautionary measures in place, is it not up to us to make sure we follow all the precautionary measures laid out? 

And is it not the responsibility of the government to ensure all the rules put in place are followed?

We believed that the pandemic would teach us hard-hitting lessons in not taking things for granted. But here we are again, going back to the old ways. 

When we talked about embracing the new normal, I’m sure this is not what we had in mind. Honestly India, when will you learn?

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