There was a time in our lives when a walk along Beach Road in Visakhapatnam would uplift our souls and rejuvenate my mind. The green hills, the promenade, the colours of the sky during sunrise, and their rays reflecting on the Bay, made a sight one could never tire of. However, the increasing pollution that leaves soot on every surface, the mindlessly thrown trash, the traffic and the crime have all become deterrents to the walks that we once loved taking.
This city, that brought us up since we were children, is changing. When we look back at old pictures in Visakhapatnam, we see greenery and less traffic. It was easier to travel from one place to another, and we would take pride in this fact. Visakhapatnam, in the 80s, would be called laid back and sleepy. But those were the times when it would also be called safe. Our attempts to break the mould of being a branded as a ‘city for retirement’, has made us pay the price. True, today there’s a higher level of development, as compared to before, but the challenges are bigger too. Pollution, traffic and crime have increased exponentially.
The thin layers of black dust that settle on our windows, an hour after we’ve dusted them, warn us of a bigger challenge. As compared to a decade ago when it would take us barely fifteen minutes to go from one place to another, today we have to wade through traffic jams to reach our destinations. And crime isn’t just physical burglary, murders and rapes anymore as the invisible cyber-criminals lurk in the dark web.
As we move towards development, the expansive metro rail project, offices and organisations, we need to be prepared that the evils of pollution, traffic and crime are bound to increase in direct proportions. Whether it is mindlessly burning crackers to using old vehicles with high emissions, we continue to be like the irresponsible child handed a bag of candy.
There is always a right way and a wrong way for development. It needs to be sustainable and handled responsibly, with the right mindset. And wonder whether we, as a city, are ready for that? For if we do not correct ourselves right now, soon it will be too late, and the next generation will pay the price.
It is time we change, and for the better of Visakhapatnam.
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