Do cities contribute maximum to pollution? My answer is: Yes, cities create and contribute to pollution. Bigger cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata etc. are bigger culprits as they generate tens of thousands of tonnes of garbage daily, most of which is preventable. It is worse than crop burning in the NCR (National Capital Region). With increasing urbanisation, the need is the residents also follow urban patterns of living, consumption, civic responsibilities, preservation and protection of public facilities. Public assets need to be protected by all residents, respect for rights of others have to be respected, a sense of “belonging” to the city rather an alien place and pride in the city is a must.
Take the vegetables consumed in cities and rural areas. Cities buy their quota of vegetables once a week generally contrary to rural areas. Distances between the point of sale and production play a decisive role in forming consumer habits. A substantial part in weight goes waste as peelings and cutting vegetables. As a consumer, we know how much cauliflower stem and leaf goes waste. This waste is generated in each house. If only cut and washed vegetables are allowed to enter the cities, the problem of disposing properly lakhs of tonnes of green municipal waste can be solved.
That is only one benefit of marketing only cut, washed and hygienically packed fresh vegetables. The other will spare the housewife or her maid the drudgery of cutting vegetables. Spinach, fenugreek leaves(methi), cauliflower, cabbage, radish, carrot, pea (mutter), green coriander leaves, Curry leaves, green chillies, onion, garlic, ginger, sweet potato and potato etc. are hard labour to peel, cut and wash. The housewife cooking lovingly for the family gets tired in doing this labour and all her time is spent on this activity in the golden hours of the mornings and evenings. Can we reduce this drudgery of the housewife, like the LPG or cooking gas has done to millions of housewives saving their eyes from the harmful smoke of burning wood in the old style? Now that we are urban, we live urban, we eat urban, we play urban; can we think urban? Now that we are modern, we have technology at our service, can we act modern too and change over to buying only cut, washed and packed fresh vegetables and save the cities from the harmful effects of pollution. Can we compare our vegetable selling and buying habits with other modern urban cities of the world to our advantage? Add to this scenario the waste from non-vegetarian foods which keeps going in the old fashion. One can eat non-veg but fowl or animals can be slaughtered outside cities at designated farms.
Billions of hours of Indian housewives are wasted in cleaning food grains like wheat, rice, pulses and vegetables because they are adulterated. This is a peculiar urban trait that has reached even the villages. It can be eradicated by food ingredients of high quality at reasonable prices. Either the Indians do it fast or the international brands are going to do that for us. Urbanisation and modernization of this nature is welcome as the need of every Indian. It helps keep the environment clean and public health robust. Cities ought to take the lead in this direction.
Vehicular fumes and noise undoubtedly are big cause of pollution.The canine population contributes equally towards city pollution. A study on the subject is called for.
Another source appears to be plant varieties. The city air is without smell of its trees. Are they only decorative? Should cities not opt for other fragrant varieties?
To make a start at controlling further deterioration in city environment, a beginning can be made with these solutions.