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Posted at: May 11, 2019, 1:44 AM; last updated: May 11, 2019, 1:44 AM (IST)GOOD MOTORING

Pollution kills

Teenage Swedish climate warrior Greta Thunberg is forcing governments around the world to tackle climate change. India is far from worried
Pollution kills
for a better future: Thunberg is fighting for a better future for children like her

H. Kishie Singh

While world leaders and captains of industry have been floundering about climate change, one rather cute little Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, still in her luxuriant blonde pig tails, has galvanised the youth around the globe. It is the youth who will make the change. The adults are in a self- pampering, self-destructive mode without a care for either themselves or the future generations.

Thunberg confronted the Swedish Parliament last year with a poster, “Skolstrejk for Klimatet”, School Strike for Climate.

On March 15, a Friday, a million students from 125 countries observed ‘Fridays for Future’. They stayed away from school to protest the inaction of governments on climate change. It was aimed at green house gas emissions from excessive use of fossil fuel. Damn! Internal Combustion Engine again.

So powerful has been young Thunberg’s message that she has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize! A single spark has become a prairie fire! “I don’t want you to be hopeful.  I want you to panic!” Thunberg says.

She demands that the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement be implemented in full. And this is how the world is responding to this catastrophe:

Mayors of 12 cities — Los Angles, London, Paris, Cape Town, Barcelona, Vancouver, Copenhagen to mention a few — have confirmed they will buy zero emission buses only to have fossil fuel-free streets.

Some other cities are tackling the problem differently.

Singapore: This city is unique. No new cars to be registered.  If you buy a new car, take the licence plate off the old car and affix it to the new car. Junk the old car. The number of cars remains static.

Paris: The French capital observes ‘car-free Sundays’. Older cars are banned on weekdays.

Mexico City: Two million cars are taken off the streets everyday by a system that restricts road use by licence plate numbers.

Copenhagen: The Green Capital is developing a 500 km bicycle network. It doesn’t surprise, for, even the Danish PM cycles to work!

Hamburg: It is developing a car-free ‘Green Net Work’ to cover 40 per cent of its urban area.

Athens: All diesel cars could 

be banned from the City Centre by 2025.

Brussels: It’s following the example of Paris: car-free Sundays!

Madrid: The Spanish capital will ban all cars from 24 of its busiest streets by 2020. Ouch! That’s next year.

London: Plans to ban diesel cars from its roads by 2020. 

Oslo: The Norwegian capital plans to permanently ban all cars by 2019! Wow! That’s now!

NY City: It is pedestrianising more of its main streets.

India has no such vision to deal with this problem in spite of some alarming statistics. 

One in six deaths in India is due to air pollution; more than those attributed to cigarette smoking. Air in the NCR is the world’s worst!

Four million children, globally, contact asthma due to noxious fumes from the Internal Combustion Engine; 3,50,000 of these in India. Only 10 per cent Indians own cars. This elite is responsible for the world’s largest gas chamber.

This is not a doomsday prophesy. It is a scientific fact. If we don’t urgently control the situation, we may face the very first human-made biodiversity calamity — a mass extinction! I drive a car, and I feel guilty saying…

…Happy Motoring!

PS: Not a word from any political party about tackling India’s pollution problems.

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