While Delhi Chokes in Toxic Air, Minister of Environment Wants You to Listen to Music
At a time when the residents of Delhi and NCR are literally gasping for air, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar advised Indians to start their day with music, sharing a thematic Veena composition "Swagatam" by Emani Sankara Sastry, on Twitter. The irony wasn't missed as #DelhiAirEmergency and #DelhiPollution were the top trending topics on the social media platform on Sunday.
On Sunday, the capital of India and its neighbouring areas breached the 999 mark on the Air Quality Index (AQI) scale, terming the air as "hazardous" in many places.
According to the government air quality monitor, the air quality index (AQI) in Bawana was recorded at 999 in Jahangirpuri, Rohini, Sonia Vihar, Shahdara, Okhla, Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, Anand Vihar, Punjabi Bagh, Pusa, Mandir Marg, Mundka, Sriniwaspuri and JNU. Other places also crossed the 900-mark.
Witnessing the catastrophic situation in Delhi and the Northern cities; citizens, ministers, and prominent personalities have taken to social media expressing their concerns over the toxic air that has covered the regions.
One such appeal came from the Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change Prakash Javadekar, who, on Saturday, asked people to stay away from "petty politics" and focus on air pollution instead.
फिर से, मैं सभी एजेंसियों अपील करता हूं कि वे #वायुप्रदूषण से निपटने के लिए एक साथ मिलकर काम करें और लोगों को राहत दें तथा सस्ती राजनीति में शामिल न हों।#AirPollution@BJP4India @BJP4Delhi @PIBHindi @MIB_Hindi @DDNewsHindi @airnewsalerts @ManojTiwariMP— Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) November 2, 2019
Javadekar's post, however, was met with disapproval from many, including Atishi Marlena of AAP.
As a Minister of Environment, forest and climate change. It is your prime duty to reduce environmental risk based on the best available information. Was it that difficult to predict? As an ordinary person I knew Nov n Dec will be tough and planted 500+ trees. What did you do? — Sherry Dawar (@sherrydawar) November 2, 2019
This is a good question being asked by a concerned citizen. What has @PrakashJavdekar done in the last 6 months, when it was known that there will be a smog in Nov-Dec when stubble burning starts in Haryana and Punjab? https://t.co/FYja97RNs0— Atishi (@AtishiAAP) November 3, 2019
Satellite images show almost half of India is reeling under a poisonous smog. It is time that @PrakashJavdekar tells all of us: 1. What are the steps you have taken in last 6 months to prevent this? 2. What are the steps you are going to take to ensure this never happens again? pic.twitter.com/YP65iqe0BQ — Atishi (@AtishiAAP) November 3, 2019
He was further questioned and criticised for his approach towards handling the matter as grave as air pollution.
Is it not a bit late to be starting multi-state meetings? What has @moefcc been doing for the past 6 months, when it is known that stubble burning causes smog in north India in November? https://t.co/oGjOI09jV1— Atishi (@AtishiAAP) November 2, 2019
But as the breathing conditions worsened on Sunday morning, Javadekar found himself in a social media storm after his tweet found no mention of pollution whatsoever.
Start your day with music. Below is the link to a scintillating thematic composition "Swagatam" by Veena exponent Emani Sankara Sastry.https://t.co/9e4mtx6I64 For more such compositions click onhttps://t.co/yMIlz7rrA9 #IndianMusic https://t.co/9e4mtx6I64 — Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) November 3, 2019
That the tweet came from the Minister of Environment left many confused and furious. "It would help people infinitely to start the day with fresh air instead of music. Would you happen to have any endorsement tweets on that front?" responded one user.
He is our environment minister— Howdy MODIa (@rahutrue) November 3, 2019
Where do I click for some oxygen? — Stuti (@StuteeMishra) November 3, 2019
Start your day with air pollution. Below are the photos from #Gurugram.For more such clicks, visit #DelhiAirEmergency pic.twitter.com/vYvP3d27Fp— Rajat Dangi (@TheRajatDangi) November 3, 2019
Actually Sir, THIS is how my day started... my lungs don't have the capacity to even hum this scintillating composition!#DelhiAirEmergency#ChokingInDelhi@MRTB_India @CareForAirIndia @CBhattacharji @icareforlungs @ChintanIndia @Brikesh @SGanguly99 @bcci @ravinarajkohli pic.twitter.com/AEw8p7AnNq — Amrita Bahl, Ed.D (@amritabahl) November 3, 2019
Boss, how do I enjoy music when all cavities from eyes and nostrils to ear canals are all but clogged with crop stubble and smog?— Abhishek Joshi (@kaalicharan) November 3, 2019
Really? This is excellent news for the millions of people in Delhi NCR who are literally choking to death. Any advice for them? 1615 AQI in Noida last I checked sir, should we ask people to breathe only when necessary? Of course, the music should be a great distraction. Pathetic!— Priyam Jha (@deejaypj) November 3, 2019
Yaha Dilli ka dam ghut raha hai aur environment min ko sangeet ki padi h— P (@itsallryt) November 3, 2019
What a solution given by the minister of environment, in a health emergency time. Wonderful.— Prasenjit Chakraborty (@PrasenjiTweets) November 3, 2019
Sir..you are preaching music after putting the lives of millions in NCR at risk from pollution. Kabhi to serious ho jaya karo Sir...#DelhiPollution #DelhiBachao #DelhiAirQuality — Basant Patel (@BasantPatel56) November 3, 2019
Entire North India is reeling under pollution, but this guy is hearing music.— Pravir Rai (@raip74) November 3, 2019
Meanwhile, this is how Delhi is faring on the AQI chart on Sunday.