May 17, 2020
While the country wide lockdown pertaining to the COVID-19 outbreak is now old for more than a month and a half, we’ve got adapted to thrilling updates on positive environmental changes yielded by the sudden drop in pollution levels. All those indices which we were used to see roaming around in a band well above the safe standards in most of the cities are now brought down to safety. Water of the holy Ganga near Hardwar has now become fit to drink, the holes created in the ozone layers above the Antarctica has depicted comprehensive sign of self-repair, The Himalaya went on live from Jalandhar and Kolkata is currently enjoying the fun of pre-monsoon showers on a regular basis. Nature is healing and restoring itself to normalcy.
These are examples only and the list is endless and gratifying. But on the other hand it wobbles us for the ‘evils’ performed on nature by human so far. True, we haven’t left any possible way to harm nature, for what we call it ‘development’. And now while we are waiting inside our houses and praying to the Almighty to keep ourselves away from this malicious disease the nature is leaving a loud and clear message to the mankind. The humans, who use to believe themselves to be the greatest offspring of the mother nature are not at all indispensable for her healthy existence.
While enjoying the cleaner air we also feel that ending up lockdown at the earliest is really important. It has started to show perilous signs of humiliation to our economy and prolongations will only worsen things. The economic growth of the nation is already under threat. Corona dies or not, people will start to die of hunger and desolation of losing earnings as direct consequences. With a strong belief on the capabilities of medical science we expect to see soon the Coronavirus on its knees, but even if it doesn’t diminish in near time, the day cannot be very far when we will be compelled to emerge out of our houses to work with the possible and available protections.
But, what’s next?
Eventually we will just resume to perform all those same bad deeds over and again what we used to do in our ‘normal’ lifestyle in the pre-Corona age. Our cars will again run polluting the air by dispersing a lot of smoke and honking mostly without purpose. We will litter plastics here and there, spit on every possible locations and ask for poly-bags from shopkeepers in the vegetable market. We will leave oil and other garbage indigestible by the river behind after taking holy-baths. We will keep the running water tap open in the public places, and appliances switched on after use. Production will resume in the factories and emission of dangerous particles will start to pollute the air in its fullest. In a nutshell, we will be doing fast the ‘reinstating’ the environment to its pre-corona stature in no time, if not worse.
Then, what are the action points?
The question is, can we afford repeated lockdowns at times to keep the environment clean? Certainly not. Then, isn’t there a way we can considerably save the affirmative changes achieved by the nature during this lockdown?
Fact is, a lot we can do on our own. This is the time to turn all those theoretical educations of ours in to practical implementations. We can curtail the use of our cars and instead take public conveyances to our workplaces. The idea, on implementation will reduce fuel consumption and reduce smoke, the traffic, fuel price and certainly be a friend to our wallets. By not printing long reports on paper in our workplaces we can encourage use of e-copies and digital signatures, and transmission through emails only. As an add-on to reduction in destroying trees it will reduce virus contamination also.
The next time we go for shopping in the vegetable market we can carry a recycled shopping bag and become an example of eco-friendly person. By not spoiling the drains, water-bodies or other places around our houses we can obey the discipline to throw-out our daily household garbage to the municipality vans or bins.
Monsoon will be arriving in two months. This is high time to plant more trees. We need to stop burning plastics of any kind, stop spitting around after chewing pan or gutkha and do a lot of other things on our own without much of cost or efforts to save the environment. Most importantly, we can initiate to increase the awareness about these old-fashioned, small but very much mighty action points among the people around us. We share lot of jokes, literature or memes on the social media, could at least a quarter of those shares be useful one-liners on keeping the nature clean and green?
Sincere efforts on mass awareness and hearty initiatives on other issues from the Government authorities is important. They need to devise surprise audits at factories in regular intervals to monitor the standards of pollution control measures. Checks, and not only on papers, must be there for guided use and proper disposal of all non-eco-friendly compounds. Initiatives to implement stiff controls on checking emission quality of vehicles on-road must be in place. Penal actions on violating the rules affecting environment to be re-looked.
The public transport system need to be made comfortable enough to attract the car-
owned class to travel on it. Increasing the number of public buses, top level of cleanliness, smart ticketing system, punctuality can become the next cool things. Of course, driving cars by the middle-class is not the sign of wealth of a country, rather use of public transport by the privileged is.
An expensive lesson
The COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown is a very expensive reminder for us which we cannot afford to repeat in future. The survivors among us must take the apt lessons from it and redirect the actions towards the good changes. If we can do that to our gain, no further pandemics will be required to remind us of our responsibilities for the nature to keep it at our side.