Air pollution isn’t just a problem in India. Major capitals like Paris also have to fight bad air quality. The difference is things don’t have to get too extreme for the Parisian government to do something about it.
When particles in air reached unhealthy levels in Paris this week, the government had an action plan they immediately set in place.
This hasn’t been the case in India. After Diwali, air pollution levels in Delhi were more than 40 times worse than the air in Paris, but it took more than a week for the government to decide to implement measures like shutting down schools. So maybe it’s time for the Indian government to learn a few things from France.
Parisian Mayor Anne Hidalgo has made fighting air pollution a major part of her political identity.
She doesn’t wait for bad air days to act on pollution. The government is transforming the banks of River Seine, which runs through Paris, to ban vehicles from driving nearby and contaminating the river with their fumes. Imagine if Delhi restructured areas near Yamuna! Maybe the river wouldn’t be so dead.
Paris is also widening bike and pedestrian lanes so that its residents consider alternatives to hopping into their cars in the morning.
Considering that air pollution in many Indian cities, from Kolkata to Mumbai, is much worse than in Paris, maybe it’s time for India to learn a few tricks from France.
Thoda unse seekho, thoda unhe sikhao. That’s how it works.
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam