Sunday, June 23, 2024

Back to horse power? – The Hindu

Using horses for transport can even limit our dependence on fossil fuels!

Using horses for transport can even limit our dependence on fossil fuels!
| Photo Credit: SANDEEP SAXENA

Delhi has been shrouded by smog once again! Experts and the layman alike are scouting for a solution. When Delhi was subjected to the second phase of the odd-even rule in May 2016, a BJP MP from Assam trotted on horseback to the Parliament. R.P. Sharma managed to turn a few heads by way of his unique protest. Though the point was meant to be taken as an opposition to the traffic policy, he set me thinking by displaying a placard saying “Pollution Free Vehicle”.

The white horse which the protesting politician rode symbolised “horse power”. We can take a leaf from the politician’s book, giving consideration to his alternative transport solution. There were times in the past when horse power has proven to be reliable in terms of speed, security and sensibility.

Coming to the present day, it would not be a bad idea to consider re-introducing horses into our transport system. If each one of us supplanted at least some of our vehicles that we own with a horse, then we can most certainly bring down the pollution levels, clean up traffic jams and make use of the existing roads without causing damage to the little greenery that still remains.

The point is not about owning a horse; it is about using the horse effectively in present times. Of course, people are most likely to consider this to be an abnormal suggestion in an era of supersonic transportation. However let us look at the benefits. Apparently, horses need to be groomed, fed and watered. So we will have to increase greenery that can serve as fodder for the horse. A number of farmers will look at fodder for horses as a commercial agricultural crop. The enterprise will not only fetch them assured profits but will also do a good turn to nature because the plants will be supplying oxygen to the atmosphere and cleansing the air. In fact, the venture can actually help us reduce pollution levels while also solving our mobility issues.

The same principle holds good for “watering the horses”. People will be sensitised to take care of existing water bodies and revive or create little pools and lakes that can supply clean water to the horses. Groundwater will get recharged due to the conservation of water bodies. This in turn is likely to help the booming population get access to potable water.

Then comes the grooming of the horses. One can be rest assured that unemployment will no longer project its ugly head. Facilties to take care of horses and equine breeding farms will flourish. Architects will find it challenging to introduce stables into the existing infrastructure, but I am sure they will find a way.

Civic bodies and municipalities can think of ways to take horse dung to agricultural suburbs and rural areas, where it can be used as manure for crops. This would be quite a change from the oil spills, old tyres or toxic waste that comes with using motorised transport.

The demand for fossil fuels will slowly subside and perhaps help in stabilising prices. More than that, Mother Earth will be given a little respite to replenish her oil resources.

While owning a horse may not be always possible, we can also think of options when we can rent one for our use. The company of animals can make us responsible, caring and better human beings who will not forget that we belong to Earth but we don’t own it. Sometimes, we will do well to adopt time-tested ideas.

Thank You MP for your efforts! He has taken the proverbial horse to the water; it is up to us to drink it!

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#horse #power #Hindu

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