The Job of No Lifetime

18 05 2007

By Derek Beres

“Anybody who stays outdoors in the city is at grave risk, so I continue to smoke because I will die of cancer in any case,” says Shyamol Roy, who runs a roadside food stall.

Such was one of the disturbing quotes from this piece on air pollution in Calcutta by the BBC.  Suffering from dangerously high levels of air pollution, mostly due to the usage of fuels like kantatel (kerosene and petrol), a six-year study revealed that some 70% of resident are plagued with some form of lung disease. Reading this article makes An Inconvenient Truth seem like a minor mishap.

The most disturbing part occurs near the end, where a regional environmentalist states most of the pollution arises from the kantatel-drinking auto rickshaws, which is an untouchable industry due to powerful trade unions that claim that form of public transportation provides numerous jobs. I just can’t imagine what job that kills you is worthwhile, though – although our own president might have his own philosophy on that.




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