Man’s greed alone is responsible for deteriorating air quality in places like Delhi & Beijing. Encroachment on land and water bodies is an acknowledged fact, but not encroachment of air. Technology has only aggravated this human greed for more & more. Towns have been converted to cities, cities to mega-cities and still the rush goes on. For meeting the ever growing demand for residential, commercial and infrastructure space, man has started encroaching the space above the earth. Sky scrapers came to be constructed as technology empowered human effort. In the process man started encroaching the space meant for other species of the universe to dwell, oblivious of the self invited danger, which we now call air pollution. Is there a limitless supply of air? Think of the availability of water on earth and then consider the quantity of both air and water available to all of us. Let us acknowledge the fact that both water and air are available in a well defined limited quantity. We can’t create air, as we can’t create water or earth or sky. The urbanization pursued in the last two centuries following the industrial revolution has changed the natural equation of availability of these precious resources and their use. Industrial revolution inflicted the biggest damage to the arithmetic of all precious resources of the universe and robbed the earth of its life sustaining cycles of almost all resources. Air quality decline is perhaps the last in the series after soil and water. There is a specified quantity of air allocated to each geography. It is true about water and soil also. Hence some geographies are endowed with more than adequate sweet water or fertile land while others have deserts. Urbanization is brute about these considerations and forces several times more consumers per square meter by way of sky scrapers. Added to it is the non stop movement of automobiles and other machines. Where from will the clean air come to the inhabitants of these places, even as water can be arranged through municipal water supply? Nobody bothers. It is good business for hospitals and pharma companies. Children are suffering from asthma, adults lung cancer and breathing difficulties.
We have to review our policy of urbanization. It is not sustainable. It is killing. The size of cities will need to be contained, the height of the buildings will need to be reduced, the magnetic power of mega-cities to induce migration will need to be curtailed by promoting equally developed towns and small cities. We waste so much energy on just commuting every day. We should be able to make it to our work places walking or cycling. We have to pay coordinated attention to the scientific laws of mother Nature, which regulates life through cosmology, ecology, climate and weather systems. Technology has attempted to disturb this scientific system. Water, soil and air pollution are only the consequences of such bold but insensitive attempts. Can the world have a re-look at all that it has “rejected” in the first flush of industrial revolution? Life on Earth is possible only if we can keep our soil, water and air clean.
Are we unwittingly indulging in over-industrialization? To what use are we going to put our muscle power? We can’t walk in cities because the traffic hazards would discourage us. Is that what we mean by urbanization? We can’t breathe fresh air in an air-conditioned existence. We can’t drink fresh water except bottled mineral water. We survive in concrete jungles!