While the Delhi-based diplomatic community has been complaining of air pollution privately, the Costa Rican ambassador to India, Mariela Cruz Alvarez, who has developed respiratory illness, is the first to publicly say that Delhi’s air is “unbreathable”, and that she has had to move to Bengaluru to recover.
In a scathing blog post, Alvarez, a yoga practitioner and an ardent follower of Art of Living, said, “I am sick in South India with a serious upper respiratory infection due to New Delhi’s unbreatheable air. My tropical lungs couldn’t take the toll. I will be recovering and resting… It is not funny to see your lungs expelling a dark residue as if I was a smoker — which i am not. I work to bring awareness about climate change and now I feel the personal impact of our global lack of awareness. We need to wake up fast. India I love you and it hurts me to see you drowning in loads of plastic and toxic air. Where is the leadership? Clean air and water are basic human rights.”
The Indian Express recently reported that the diplomatic community has been struggling to cope with Delhi’s air.
On Tuesday, Alvarez posted a video message saying she has taken her medicines and is feeling better, as she is recuperating in the lush green surroundings in south India. “I’m a living proof that our planet is dying, coughing as I write with my Indian bronchitis,” she wrote in a blog Tuesday. She was appointed Costa Rican envoy to India in May this year.
“The pollution comes from a blue planet that is crying: factories expelling poison into her in exchange for money and conveniently forgetting about their environmental responsibility. Those who charge us with their profits in exchange for our healths and well being, brainwashing us into futile needs that are superficial and empty. Those who don’t care about children or anybody,” she wrote.
“I am sick with this poison as thousands are around the world in big cities… India is doing us all a favor, me in particular. I was in denial, I saw climate change as a subject in my Masters degree or as a problem for others, hidden in my cocoon. My Costa Rica a paradise and I never experienced the damage that is happening worldwide in such a clear way,” she said.
“Isn’t it ironic that my aim in life is to wake up others to environmental damage and that the devil grabbed me literally by the throat. I’m grateful, I’m blessed. Now I can speak from experience and my speech will be truer. Now I can speak for those can’t: those who are living on streets and also those who cover their faces in such denial — with simple toy masks that do nothing for the wicked particles,” she said.