Mohd Kayam, a security guard in Delhi-NCR is living with chest congestion and cough. Medicines are a staple for him. More than himself, he is worried about his children, who are always suffering from cold and cough. He wonders if we can ever get our blue skies back
I clearly remember as kids, we used to count stars while sleeping on the terrace of our house in Muzaffarpur, Bihar. Now, a shroud of haze blankets the beautiful spread of stars that the universe laid out for us. I don’t remember when was the last time I saw stars like those. I am sure not many people in Delhi-NCR can recall it either. I feel sorry for the generation born now — would they know of stars only through nursery rhymes? Can we ever get our blue skies back?
I am a security guard. Every day, I am exposed to polluted air and harsh weather. As a precaution, I wear a mask, but I don’t know if it is actually of any use. After completing my 12-hours, when I go back home, wash my face and rinse my mouth, the sink turns black. Over the years, my health has deteriorated. It takes an effort to breathe. My chest is always congested and medicines have become a staple. I have visited Lal Bahadur Hospital and local doctors in the past for treatment.
What worries me the most is the health of my children. Children now have a compromised immunity. Air pollution is killing children and we are helpless. I have noticed that people living in high-rise apartments have stopped sending their kids to play in the open. Air pollution has snatched away their childhood. It was never like this when we were young. We used to spend hours playing in the ground and even in mud. Smog has forced parents to keep their kids locked inside their homes. Parks, tennis and badminton courts are lying vacant. Only some senior citizens come for walks.
It is just not about Delhi, people living in other parts of the country are also complaining of pollution-related issues. The situation is apocalyptic and I do not know if we have the power or capability to reverse the damage that has already been done. Companies are minting money selling masks and purifiers and the time is not too far when we will have to pay for clean air.