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Reducing your transportation footprint

By: Asawari Mathur

I am born and brought up in Bangalore. A city called the garden city, a peaceful city with lovely weather. Now, it has also come to be known for its traffic, long commute hours, and traffic jams. Delhi among other things is known for its poor air quality and smog’s in winters.

Major cities of India are facing the issue of air pollution, bad air quality.
Bad air quality is harmful to human health and bad for the planet. Air pollution happens due to many things, One contributor is the pollutants that come out of motor vehicles.

With the increase of urbanization and development in India, the number of cars on the road is rapidly increasing. More and more people are choosing to use private transport to travel.

Image credits: Ruben de Rijcke

Whenever I am stuck in Bangalore traffic, I look around to see rows and rows of cars and vehicles, I feel overwhelmed with the number of vehicles on the road. I see big cars and only a single person in it driving to the office and I wonder if the convenience and comfort of private cars overpower the consequences it causes. I am not innocent here, after all, I am making this observation from a car!

Poor quality of air is bad for our health, personally, I feel its a basic human requirement to have good air, food, water, and sunlight; a good environment to live in. Polluted air can cause respiratory health issues and other health issues like cancer, also it is not good for our skin, hair and overall health.

Have you ever experienced walking on the road and a truck exhaust blowing all over your face? It’s horrible to breathe that black air. It feels congested to breathe polluted air, then what about the plants, animals, and other living organisms around us, I am sure they don’t enjoy it either.

Vehicular pollution means releasing carbon emissions in the air, which is causing global warming and depletion of the ozone layer which is leading to climate change. We are currently in the middle of an environmental crisis, the planet is unable to meet our wants of development, the rapid pace at which we are extracting the earth’s resources is destroying it.

To fulfill our comfort of private vehicles we are harming the earth. Digging holes to extract oil and releasing emissions. Harming the earth means harming ourselves because humans are a part of the earth.

So, what’s the solution? What can be done?

1.Choose public transport
If not everyday or everywhere, decide where all or when all can you choose to use public transport.

2. Choose to Carpool
Carpool with your colleagues or friends, a good way to enjoy the ride and connect with people as well

3. Choose to cycle/walk
Not only care for the planet, but also give your body some exercise by cycling or walking to places wherever possible

4. Maintain your vehicle
Do the pollution test regularly and make sure you are not emitting lot of pollution

On a systematic level, public transport can be made more efficient, comfortable, and safer. Also, sustainable transport solutions can be brought to the market. With electrical vehicles, I feel skeptical because the energy source is not sustainable.

I may not be emitting carbon from my car but the coal power plant where I get the electricity is causing air pollution and environmental issues. The solutions need to be sustainable in all ways for the planet and for humans.

During Covid Lockdown in 2020, many of us saw the effect of vehicles being off the road. With all the cars and bikes at home, people experienced cleaner air, clearer skies and nature blossomed in urban spaces.

Of course, there are other contributors to air pollution, industrial factories, trucks and other goods transport vehicles, crop burning, garbage burning, bursting firecrackers and more but private vehicles are a part of the list.

As people who use private vehicles and commute in cities, we can take responsibility for our actions and see what we can do for our health, others’ health, and the planet’s health.

(The views expressed in the article are the author’s own. Let Me Breathe neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)

Asawari Mathur

Asawari Mathur

Eco entrepreneur and Sustainable lifestyle advocate

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