An enduring threat - GulfToday

An enduring threat

An enduring threat

The health warning message on the cigarette packets should be taken very seriously.

Isn’t it ludicrous that while we take the health warning message on our cigarette packets very seriously and force tobacco smokers to quit the ‘deadly’ addiction, we don’t seem to care as much for air pollution and fossil-driven activity which is equally harmful, if not more (“Poor nations paying price of ‘climate chaos’: Oxfam,” Dec.3, Gulf Today).

Our toxic emissions are polluting the air we breathe which leads to breathing-related illnesses, heart disease, lung cancer and infections. And yet we somehow assume that tobacco smoking is more lethal of the two. But stats reveal that climate crisis is claiming as many lives, if not more, than smoking does. Air pollution tragically is the new tobacco and sadly this affects all, including children, elderly and even animals —generally non smokers.

There is so much talk of second hand smoke affecting the health of people in close vicinity to smokers but who is really taking notice of air pollution which is slowly killing all of us irrespective of our proximity to another human or animal or even plant life.

The tobacco industry has to adhere to global guidelines as to advertising campaigns and the likes. They are not permitted to push the product as vigorously as other items because of the harm it causes. But where are guidelines for those breaking environmental norms?

Huge forests are burnt and trees murdered in the guise of development. Water bodies are reclaimed to prop up mega housing colonies. Industrial units which are harmful to the environment are given permission to spew venom in the skies. And while a few rake in the moolah, the rest of us are made to pay the price by way of climate change fallout.

Coastal areas are threatened by rising sea waters, severe cyclones have wreaked havoc on African states, wildfires have burned Australia and yet there are deniers who say all this is part of the natural cycle.

The environmental turbulence is driving more than 20 million people a year from their homes. And the problem is set to worsen unless leaders act swiftly. It’s time every nation commits to a greener future not on paper but in reality.

Vivek Khatri
By email

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