Being an independent nation is a privilege reserved for a few and less than a century back we weren't part of this privileged clique. Looking at ourselves and our nation today it's hard to imagine that we were at the mercy of a foreign power. But are we truly free today?
The India of today is under the firm grasp of another kind of malevolent force, pollution. Pollution in all its forms, be it air pollution to plastic pollution, has the power to bring us to our knees if we allow things to continue the way they are. Plastic pollution, which is majorly driven by our dependence on single-use plastic, has led to toxic microplastic entering the food chain and accumulating in our stomachs. Air pollution, on the other hand, is silently killing us one breath at a time while we box ourselves in our chemical-laden homes, offices, and schools.
So how do we free ourselves of these oppressors? We can start by taking a leaf out of the books of all those who fought for our freedom, they gave up the comforts of their time to fight for a better future for us. In the context of pollution, we can first start by making small sustainable changes to our current lifestyle. In fact saying no to today's convenience driven way of life is as revolutionary as the protests our freedom fighters organised. We need to strive to keep disposable items, be it the demonised plastic spoon to the beatified wooden spoon, to the bare minimum and use the public transit systems like shuttle buses and trains over all other modes of transport to the best of our ability.
Small changes may seem easy to accomplish but consistently making these choices that go against the flow of the status quo of general populace is a task in itself, so one must always remember, nothing in this world that is worth having comes easy. Our fight for Independence did not come cheap. Countless unnamed men and women toiled tirelessly for almost a century to make way for an independent India and their efforts may have not benefited them directly but have ensured that our lives are much better than theirs could ever be. Let us all endeavor to do the same and ensure that the future generations to come will remember us as the generation that fought for our Independence from pollution.
Anoushka Viegas, Programme Co-ordinator