5 June is celebrated as World Environment Day since 1974. The celebrations are facilitated and encouraged by the United Nations. The day is a reminder to us about our environment that we share with all the other plants and animals on Planet Earth, and with each other.
The theme of World Environment Day 2019 is Beat Air Pollution. The host country this year is China. Nine out of ten people are now reported to be breathing polluted air. Air pollution not only harms the lungs and the respiratory system but affects all other parts of the body as well. It also brings down a person’s capacity to work and is therefore one of the greatest social, economic and environmental challenge in the present day.
The city of Delhi, and most other parts of urban India, are reeling under a constant threat of air pollution. This World Environment Day, citizens must take a pledge to raise awareness for ensuring clean air and also taking individual steps for preventing air pollution. The UN has called for a world wide symbolic protest of wearing a mask on 5th June and uploading your photograph with the hashtag #beatairpollution. That could be a first step.
There is concrete action needed for fighting this crisis. Here are five basic ways in which you can #beatairpollution starting this World Environment Day:
- Use public transport to the greatest possible extent. And cycle or walk. It is time that Delhi reinvents and restores its Walkability.
- Turn off the car engine when the car is stationary. Do not develop the habit of sitting inside the car with the AC and the engine turned on. Roll down your windows or park your car under a tree, and just stand next to it if you are waiting for someone, or having that plate of chaat.
- Reduce your consumption of meat to help cut methane emissions. It is now accepted world wide that meat is a big contributor to global greenhouse gas emission. The Indian traditional systems have all advocated the prevention of eating meat and consuming it only when no other option is available. Reduce your meat consumption and try to give it up altogether. As it is, the UN has alerted that 1 million species are about to go extinct.
- Segregate your waste at home. Then, compost organic food items (wet waste) and recycle non-organic trash. In either case, make sure you give ONLY segregated waste to your waste collector. The Municipal Corporations of Delhi are making extra efforts to ensure segregation of waste at all levels. Support their initiative in ensuring that your waste does not return to you as air pollution.
- PLANT! Grow and nurture plants all around you. Begin by growing air purifying plants inside your houses and in your balconies and verandahs. They will help immensely in purifying your air. Next, look for available land and plant saplings of native trees. If you are not able to find land, go the seed ball way and help carry out guerrilla plantation by throwing these seed balls in empty plots, abandoned buildings or warehouses, along roads and in open spaces.
- And a BONUS one: Donate to Delhi Greens on World Environment Day and help us in doing more for protecting our common environment. We are limited neither by passion nor knowledge to protect the environment. We are only limited by resources and your support will go a long way in helping us strengthen our existing projects and creating more projects for environmental protection. Every contribution matters to us. Click here to Donate to Delhi Greens (Online transfer and PayTM supported).
Don’t dismiss air pollution as someone else’s environmental problem. That is because if you live and work in Delhi, or in most other metropolitan cities, air pollution is already impacting you and your children. Your every breath has much less of clean air than it had 10 or 15 years ago. What it means for your health and longevity is anybody’s guess.
This Environment Day, gear up to join the fight against air pollution for your survival and the survival of your children and loved ones.
Top image: Seed balls made by Delhi Greens for guerrilla plantation of trees on World Environment Day 2019.