Tuesday, 14 November 2017
OPINION | Avoiding Airpocalypse: It's Time to Move Beyond Quick Fixes and Tackle the Root Cause of Crisis
Some of these are common to most Indian cities. But these are symptoms of something deeper - a short-sighted approach to development. In particular, the fixation on economic growth indicators has blinded our decision-makers to the enormous social and ecological damage being caused by such growth. An unregulated hunger for profits and material gains, and the pursuit of political power through ugly electoral competitiveness, are willing accomplices to these approaches
Trying to solve this by mandating cleaner fuels is short-sighted, as Delhi’s CNG experiment has shown. What is needed is a fundamental rethinking of human mobility patterns in cities. An overarching focus on public transportation, cycling and walking, as for instance is now becoming common in some European cities, has to become top priority.
Then there is the construction boom in cities, a major source of dust, some of it pretty deadly (as evident from the enormous health cost paid by workers who toil to make our buildings). The mindboggling profits that the construction industry (and its supporters in government) make is a major cause for this boom, with increasing demand being a convenient excuse. The problem is not only the scale of the activity, but also the materials and technologies used.
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