Times have surely changed! While Mahatma Gandhi walked four hundred kilometres for a pinch of salt, his countrymen prefer using cars for buying a packet of salt from the neighbourhood store. And, there is hardly any remorse in doing so. In fact, people take pride in driving short distances for daily needs.
Studies show that Indians are going the American way. While cars are used for 55 per cent of trips for less than one-third of a mile in the US, more than 20 per cent car owners are following suit in India.
In the name of saving time or may be for ostentatious reasons, people do not want to walk extra 15 minutes a day which can extend human life by up to three years. They may avoid walking but invest a hefty monthly fee at the neighbourhood gym for walking on the treadmill – walk that (they think) lends social status.
What must be known, however, is that people driving short distances do more damage to the environment – less than 2 km of car journey can emit around 574 gm of carbon dioxide. Both ways, for not undertaking short walks, it is the human health that remains at stake.
*Sudhirendar Sharma is an environmental journalist and a development professional. He also writes music notes for this website.