In the first few weeks of the lockdown being introduced in March last year, there were several reports of the air being cleaner and cities noting a reduction in pollution levels.
While this was a temporary situation that happened because most economic activities were being curtailed at that time, our long-term objective must be to ensure cleaner air is permanently available for all.
Skilling rural Youth
One of the more permanent ways of ensuring a cleaner environment is by reducing the pressure on our megacities. The cities are already bursting at their seams under the weight of their population. Migration from the villages towards urban centres is also adding to this situation compounded by growing levels of air, water, and ground pollution.
India has had a long history of migration. People in India have long been known for their attachment to the native locale and a lot has been researched on this. However, it is the lack of avenues in the villages that have for long propelled our youth to the cities.
Migration for jobs or perceived better opportunities has existed from times immemorial. But it can be addressed.
The answer to this lies in empowering our rural youth. Providing them with the right employment opportunities at the village level will ensure that the young blood of our country doesn’t have to follow the footsteps of the youth from the past who ended up in the cities.
Over a period of time, a steady increase in aspirations for white-collar jobs, and the local environment not being able to provide those jobs, has led rural youth to migrate to larger cities. Post migration, most youth end up spending a life only aspiring and trying to fulfil their life goals.
Youth who migrate to the cities for a better life have to compromise on decent living conditions and even basic hygiene as far as sanitation facility is concerned. The standard of city life has truly deteriorated for this segment of rural youth who migrate from their villages.