‘Death by Delhi’: An 18 Year Old Writes on Air Pollution

Children in Delhi and Delhi NCR are under house arrest. The joke is this is an exclusive form of “Capital” punishment!

Smarting eyes can't produce tears - so we might as well let out a combined laugh, through our pollution masks - of course. I want to go out for a run, but instead, I am running away. Literally.

Thank you leaders, farmers, policymakers, cracker-bursting, open waste-burning locals and PUC-unchecked motorists.

Also Read: Newborns Are Smoking 25 Cigarettes Per Day in Severe Air Pollution

I am a student in high school attending a boarding school in the south. I am among the fortunate ones who can still write the colour of sky is blue and not grey - as I see that during the 10 months I spend there.

It may well be that I have a non-smoker's lungs - but I am not sure whether the five-year-old in my neighbour's home can boast of the same! And what greater tragedy can befall us?

We can't play outdoors, the air needs to be purified and the water needs to be softened and filtered.

How can we have a sound body and mind if you set us up to fail?

You are robbing us of not only our childhood but also health. What kind of perverse pleasure do you get by choking us thus?

It was children's day but what is there to celebrate? That we are not dying in hordes yet? That we don't count, as we are not your vote bank? What have we done to earn this apathy?

I am looking forward to returning to my school. Then I feel this pang of guilt. What about my friends and family? Where can they run to?

Every year - the same story. IQ is trumped by AQI. Finger-pointing. Forced school holidays. Airline disruptions. More and more respiratory cases and hospital admissions. More shrill news reports.

While at least another 100,000 more of children under five will be quietly wiped off by the air pollution yet again this year.

At 18, I am losing my sleep over this. Are you?

(The author is an 18-year-old resident of Delhi)

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