Delhi faces the problem of pollution all the time and especially during winter as a result of constructions and vehicle fumes. Stubble burning in the neighboring states makes it all the more severe. These days the situation is particularly worse. Blinding smog rises from the fields in Haryana in the south of Delhi and Punjab in the north of Delhi. The smoke is choking and blinding Delhi.
As I write this, there is absolutely no wind movement outside. I am looking at the plants in front of my window and cannot see a single leaf moving. We have kept our doors and windows closed. Yesterday, I had a meeting which required me to go out and I forgot to carry my mask. Although I covered my face with my shawl, I got affected and was coughing. According to a forecast by “System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research”, the magnitude of air pollution is far beyond what’s tolerable for human beings. Some media report says: “spending a day outdoors in Delhi these days has become akin to smoking a pack of cigarettes”.
I was thinking about the peacocks we regularly feed on our terrace, and how they were doing. It has been some days since I last saw them.
Schools have been closed
The situation is quite dangerous especially for the children. In order to protect them, schools have been closed for a week, sports and other outdoor activities have been canceled. In India we usually celebrate the Children’s Day on November 14th. To mark the day this year, the government actually organized 166 different events; SOS Children’s Villages were also meant to take part. But everything had to be postponed due to the smog.
In our Children’s Village in Delhi we have also taken precautions: We try to keep the boys and girls as much inside as possible, especially in the mornings and evenings and make sure that they wear masks when they leave the house. The mothers offer enough water so that they don’t dehydrate. We speak to the children and explain the situation. In general we raise awareness on the importance of a clean environment.
But right now we have got to somehow brave the conditions, until the wind finally comes. And we try not to lose our sense of humor. This morning I got a message from a friend: Breathlessness, palpitation, moist eyes … you’re either in love or in DELHI.