5 Things RWAs Should Do To Reduce Pollution
All of us are increasingly forced to reaslise that the responsibility to battle “larger issues” such as pollution does not rest solely with authorities. If we thought we could do little to help pollution levels from rising in our small capacities, the looming toxic haze around the skies or the overflowing dirty sewages, for instance, would make us think otherwise. Because it has started impacting us directly, there is no way forward but to devise ways in which we can become the change we want. While we might be making some personal sacrifices to keep the atmosphere clean, how can we make sure our neighbours do so, too? Your Resident Welfare Association (RWA) can be of help. By putting in place some basic rules, RWAs can play an active role in taming the pollution monster.
Let us look at five ways in which it could be made possible.
Provide electric heaters to night guards
The Delhi government in 2017 sent out a directive that all RWAs in the national capital should provide electric heaters to night security guards. In the cold winter nights, these works are forced to burn wood and coal to guard themselves against the chilly atmosphere outside. The particulate matter that is emitted through the fire is trapped near the surface, especially during the winter, owing to low temperature, high moisture and lack of winds. Providing electric heaters to night security guards is one of the measures provided in the Centre-notified Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to battle pollution. So far, very few RWAs have adopted the measure. RWAs across the national could adopt this measure.
Cap on car parking
The rising number of private vehicles is another reason of increasing pollution levels. However, we can hardly deny that we all need our private transport to move from one place to another since public transport may not answer all our travel needs. So, we buy cars. Often, each member of one family will have a private vehicle, and this is made possible because RWAs may not have strict parking rules in place. In some cases, the housing society will let you park as many cars as you want in case you are able to afford the monthly cost. RWAs should put in place stricter laws in place to cap parking spaces per house to tap down the number of private vehicles. You now know that it is for your own good—a report by the Centre for Science and Environment said air pollution causes 30 per cent of all premature deaths in India.
Keep the noise down
The emergence of the nuclear family system is not without its demerits. Because we live away from family, we have to organise get-togethers and parties quite frequently to unburden ourselves. In that process, we may be giving our neighbours a sleepless night, not to mention the fact that we are causing a great deal of noise pollution, too. While RWAs do follow certain norms when it comes to loud parties, they can do better to improve things. For instance, it is only after 12 at night that your neighbour will be asked to keep the music down; till that time they often have the liberty to go as loud as they like. Any objections made before that time result in heated arguments. To stop such occurrences from taking place and to make sure that a housing society is a quieter place, RWAs should form sticker rules around this. In case you think there is no harm in partying all night, think of this scenario. If you were living in this apartment with your old parents who would find it extremely hard to get any rest because the noise outside would just not stop, you would find the situation intolerable. Your neighbour might be in that kind of a situation.
Keeping it green
Hardly any RWA makes it mandatory for residents to share the responsibility to keep housing societies green. This is an area where engaging every resident would be of great help. RWAs can make rules to make it mandatory for each resident to have at least something green inside or outside of the house. Members could also be entrusted with the job of maintaining the greenery of the housing society and suggest ways to make things better. The more the residents engage the better the chances of battling pollution.
Treat your waste
India generates nearly 62 lakh million tonnes per annum of municipal solid waste and it is critical to manage and realise the potential of this waste. It is important that India looked at waste as a resource and not as garbage that should be discarded at a landfill site. RWAs across the country must do their part here. Most old housing societies in big cities do not have sewage treatment plants. Efforts should be made to change that.