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Smog is India’s new Instagram filter

Friday, November 11, 2016 4:06
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(Before It's News)

India’s capital, Delhi, is right now the most polluted city in the world. According to a WHO report, 12 out of 22 of the world’s most polluted cities are in India. It’s a public health disaster, but it wasn’t always like this.

Winters in Delhi have always had a special appeal to me. I have grown up in its famous mist, shivering in the cold breeze. Riding on my father’s scooter to Shahjahan road for chaat (Indian snacks) would be an adventure the whole family would look forward in the winters. I don’t think it was the chaat we all craved for, it was always the freezing rides through the Lutyens Delhi – the old colonial part of Delhi.

Years later, my memories of winters revolved around long heated discussions with friends at the local chai wallah (roadside tea stall). Winter was the only thing that made Delhi stand apart from India’s other sprawling cities. But now all this sounds like an old folk tale.

A lot has been said about the smog hovering over Delhi in the last few weeks. Somewhere between the blame games and tv debates, I have been noticing a new trend among the younger Delhites. Like any adverse situation, smog has also given a window of opportunity to express their creativity.

I’ve noticed the same thing in China. We have seen some amazing work coming from Beijing over the last few years, where artists told stories of air pollution in their own unique way.

Air pollution has also reached Indians’ Instagram accounts, with more and more of us talking about pollution online, making sure we don’t forget these smoggy days in a weeks time. It’s a sad reality that this is now becoming the new norm. Here is a short list of few Instagram feed worth checking out:

Love in the time of #smog #sodelhi #delhismog #airpocalypse #indiagate #delhipollution #helpusbreathe

A photo posted by Abhinit (@abhinitk) on Nov 7, 2016 at 11:27am PST

__________ MUST READ ________ ” Smog covered Delhi & NCR like blanket…. Dear & near I would like to bring it to your notice that currently air quality in Delhi is falling under Hazardous catagory posing high risk to children, newborns, old age population and unhealthy population. We can consider the following measures to ensure a better protection: 1. Avoid direct exposures outdoors for longer hours 2. Avoid morning walks as pollution levels are highest during early mornings and evening because of thermal inversion/smog formation 3. Do not get into heavy exercises in open or non treated exercise areas like gym 4. Ask your kids to not to play outdoors or limit their sports activities to indoor 5. Consume lots of jaggery for detoxification 6. Increase intake of citrus fruits 7. Use N95/N99 masks/other protections (even handkerchief does provide 25% protection) while being outdoor walking on roads or riding a bike or being in auto 8. If possible use HEPA based air purifiers indoor with good air exchange rate 9. While in car ensure frequent air exchange as high CO accumulation may lead to strokes and cardiac arrests in heart patients 10. Please do not use any chemical based air freshners indoor 11. For ventilation open your windows/doors only when sun is bright; better would be in afternoon 12. If you feel suffocation than simple put a tea bag into a steamer and inhale steam it helps in relaxing the respiratory passage 13. Consult your doctor in case of emergency” Photo and caption by – @puranidilliwaley . . . . #Delhi #Delhigram #Smoke #Smog #Health #Hazard #TakeCare #warning #Risk #Problems #DelhiNCR #Sodelhi #Dfordehi #DelhiDiaries #India

A photo posted by D E L H I G R A M (@delhigram) on Nov 3, 2016 at 5:18am PDT

WHAT ARE WE DOING TO THIS PLANET?? It looks like winter mist, but it feels like death! After spending 2 days in Delhi my eyes are burning, throat is itchy, and have a constant headache. But the biggest ache I have was seeing all the children in the roads, and hard working people outside continuing to do their work, and knowing they will be deeply affected by this. And not just in the immediate future but for years to come. Now I know Diwali isn’t the sole reason that Delhi is in an emergency state (STOP burning crops!!) but it damn well didn’t help the problem. Few days back I wrote on twitter about my concerns with the firecrackers and few people actually had the nerve to tell me I’m not from here so shut my mouth or it’s our holiday and we have the right to burst crackers. I’m not sure which of these comments are more ignorant. Time to wake up everyone. Diwali is about spreading light but now your loved ones are living in dark. Let’s live responsibly and take care of our planet. There is no Planet B 🌍⚠️♻️ 👇🏽 Stay safe and protect your loved ones. Stay indoors and wear a face mask 😷 #delhi #pollution #delhipollution #diwali #postdiwaliscenes #nofilter #weneedhelp #saynotocrackers #climatechange #globalwarming #cantbreathe

A photo posted by Lauren Gottlieb (@laurengottlieb) on Nov 6, 2016 at 6:33am PST

I’d love to see the day when images like these become distant memories. For too long, pollution has blighted our skies and our lungs. Indoor and outdoor air pollution account for 1.6 million premature deaths. It’s time we stand up for clean air. 


Sudhanshu Malhotra is the Multimedia Editor for Asia Pacific, based in Greenpeace East Asia

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