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Bad air can serve a good purpose

Fake pollution cannot cut it; only the real thing can drive home the message.

ET Bureau|
Dec 10, 2019, 08.07 AM IST
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If there is bottled fresh air, can bottled bad air be far behind?
If there is bottled fresh air, can bottled bad air be far behind?
If there is bottled fresh air, can bottled bad air be far behind? The purposes of the two are markedly different — the former to help clear clogged lungs, the other to clear clogged minds — but the latter’s presence at the ongoing UN Climate Change Conference COP 25 in Madrid was expected. Of course, those who deem as supremely ironic the recreation of polluted fug with non-toxic concoctions of artificial fog machines and ‘safe’ perfume blends to mimic the acrid air of São Paulo, New Delhi or London, have a point too. This could well be considered almost as paradoxically thoughtless as organising an haute couture shoot in a destitute area. But wait, that has been done already. So why not bottle and disseminate real bad air, rather than fake bad air?

Simply catching some of the miasma of New Delhi or London in appropriately biodegradable containers and giving receptive audiences in Madrid whiffs in safe dosages could have been a cheaper alternative and more effective too, albeit less conducive to an interactive artistic ‘installation’. Besides, while the concocted version has been eliciting the same reaction of watery eyes and itchy throats, knowing that the fumes are actually harmless may, in fact, detract from the urg ency of the situation. There is nothing like a good ingestion of bad air to expedite the clean-up process.
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