I can’t to we won’t breathe, blame is to be shared

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As a matter of time, in the past on July 17, 2014, Eric Garner was choked to death with his last remarks, “I can’t breathe.” The event enraged the masses across the world and the United States in particular. Garner’s before doom remarks have parallels with today’s pandemic. This ‘historically-significant’ virus of the future, i.e. Covid-19 has been the inevitable reality of the present, where millions of positively tested patients were/are suffering from hypoxia. Their unbearable pain and suffering, if described, they say ‘we can’t breathe’ in collectivity.

Our emerging global giant India struggled to breathe on account of the severe shortage of medical oxygen in the month of April-May, with our death tolls rapidly shooting the sky. There were incalculable SOS calls and messages across the length and breadth of the nation via various communication platforms, just for one purpose i.e. to make our loved ones breathe. The single line of thought which binds these two events of two different time frames together is ‘choking’, choking because of dearth of oxygen to breathe, irrespective.

However, elaborating the events and doing their post-mortem is not the concern of this piece of work. This work outlines the hypothetical worst-case scenario of the future. In the future, it is certain that ‘we won’t breathe’ if present events continue to happen at an unprecedented pace without a halt. This far future of our planet running out of atmospheric oxygen had been anticipated by a journal called ‘Nature Geosciences.’ Albeit the aforementioned journal presents the possibility hard to accept, but the gap between the hypothesis and reality is bridging at the sprinted pace.

It would not come as a surprise to many if the remarks, “We can’t breathe” are employed in the context of our capital’s air purity standards or put differently, the degree of air pollution. The phrase goes hand in hand with the plight of Delhiites, conveying their struggle to access nature’s bounty of fresh air. Statistically, as per the Green Peace Southeast Asia analysis of IQAir data, our world-class capital, as claimed by many, saw 54,000 people succumb to death in 2020, not because of a pandemic but as a consequence of life claiming air quality index. The total number of people deceased are far less in Delhi in more than twenty months of the pandemic, if compared to stats of deaths attributed to air pollution in 2020. But, this bigger issue remains un-discussed, and if some importance is granted, that too remains seasonal.

Also, if parallels are drawn, then the pandemic will sooner or later end but unfortunately, our air quality is and will continue to deteriorate if past trends are studied, and we would be living in ‘new abnormal’ where masks would no longer be used out of unwillingness to pay challans, but as a prerequisite to survival. Hence, making extreme remarks about our Right to Life being in danger, won’t be wrong as in the future ‘we won’t breathe.’

But who is to be blamed; government, politicians, administrators, or our neighboring states and nations. To our mind, the blame is to be shared. We as a society failed, we failed the system and we have made ourselves vulnerable to be-choked in the upcoming times. Simply put, it is the high time and the need of an hour, to wake ourselves up from the sleep of ignorance, to free ourselves from the ceaseless cycle of blame-game, to abide by our responsibility towards the planet, and be a human with qualities encompassed in an acronym 3A i.e. aware, active and act.

Lastly, it is not rocket science to do something advantageous and sustainable for society, it can begin with writing on both sides of a practical notebook to reducing your carbon footprints, so that, ‘we could breathe’.

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