Delhi has been reeling under severe pollution over the last couple of weeks with doctors even prescribing patients to leave the national capital if possible.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has called the city, which has been blanketed in thick smog, a "gas chamber".
Delhi has become a gas chamber. Every year this happens during this part of year. We have to find a soln to crop burning in adjoining statesâ€” Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) November 7, 2017
Even as the National Green Tribunal has asked Delhi and the concerned neighbouring states to submit an Action Plan on the measures they will take to tackle pollution, the blog posts of the Costa Rican ambassador to India has caught the attention of many, making them reflect on the gravity of the situation.
Mariela Cruz Alvarez has had to leave Delhi and move to Bengaluru to recover as the pollution, she claims, made her sick.
On November 16, The Indian Express reported that Mariela wrote a searing blog post, stating, "I am sick in South India with a serious upper respiratory infection due to New Delhiâ€™s unbreatheable air. My tropical lungs couldn't take the toll. I will be recovering and restingâ€¦ It is not funny to see your lungs expelling a dark residue as if I was a smoker â€” which I am not. I work to bring awareness about climate change and now I feel the personal impact of our global lack of awareness. We need to wake up fast. India I love you and it hurts me to see you drowning in loads of plastic and toxic air. Where is the leadership? Clean air and water are basic human rights."
A man, wearing an mask, jogs through smog at Sanjay Park in New Delhi; PTI Photo by Kamal Singh.
Apart from being a diplomat, Mariela is also a yoga enthusiast and her yoga gurus are based out of Karnataka.
In another blog posted on November 10, she described how she had no idea of the consequences of breathing the severely polluted air in Delhi. That is until she reached Bengaluru, and her "system collapsed".
"I'm used to living in paradise (referring to Costa Rica) and suddenly India has become a threat to my health and the health of my friends and colleagues. I love this place so much and it hurts me deeply to see the damage that is happening as I write," she wrote.
"Twenty million people in Delhi and many more in North India bearing unbearable levels of pollution that means death in the short term- instant for many who passed last week because of the collapsing of their lungs. And the hardest part is seeing them in total denial of the problem cover their faces and go out as if nothing was happening," she added.
A notice put up on the Costa Rican embassy's FB page stated that their office will remain closed from November 13-17 keeping in mind the smog.
Media reports state that many Delhiites are considering moving out of the city, if not permanently, at least in pollution-affected months.
In fact, the pollution problem has gotten so bad that some embassies in the national capital are reportedly mulling whether to tag Delhi a "hardship posting".
Speaking to CNN News18, Mexican Ambassador Melba Pria said, "There's no politics when it comes to immunization. Why? Because itâ€™s about our children. In the same way everyone should come together to fight pollution. Why do cars exported out of India to Mexico have catalytic convertors but the ones used in India don't?"
India's failure to implement emission control standards for coal-fired power plants is leading to severe air pollution levels, according to environmental researcher Aishwarya Sudhir.
Close to 40% of winter-time pollution has been attributed to crop fires, coal-fired power plants and industries spread across the National Capital Region (NCR).
A recent research by the University of Maryland and NASA blames severe haze as a major public health concern in China and India.
It says both countries rely heavily on coal for energy, and sulphur dioxide emitted from coal-fired power plants and industry is a major pollutant contributing to their air quality problems.
With IANS inputs