What will finally save us from toxic air isn’t democracy
- I can see three ways in which north India can solve winter pollution. None of these requires the inconvenience of human goodness or the practical mechanism of electoral democracy.
It is that time of the year when toxic smog makes it hard to see the faces of the rich and sophisticated in the national capital region, but I can assure you they look like losers for having to live here. Every November, they reconsider buying that Maltese citizenship, or that villa in Goa for the same price; and they secretly or overtly despise their spouses who are stuck here for emotional or professional reasons. Of the millions of rupees they pay every year to live in Delhi, on their home in a fortified enclave, the school of their children, their club, their cars and the restaurants they frequent, a major portion is not for the quality of services, but simply to keep real India out. Yet, it is hard to keep real India out of their citadels, especially when seasonal wind patterns ensure that north India’s vehicular, industrial and agricultural pollution does not blow away and instead fills the lungs of hundreds of millions, damaging many in irreparable ways.