New Delhi: Concerned about poor air quality in Delhi, a group of college students have come together to monitor the air quality index daily in several locations in the city and raise awareness about the health hazards posed by pollution. The overall air quality in the national capital was in the ‘very poor’ category on Tuesday, while some areas in the city experienced ‘severe’ pollution due to low wind speed, which is unfavourable for dispersion of pollutants, authorities said.
The move aims to urge the Delhi government to realise that people are worried about the situation, and take concrete steps, according to a statement by the drive jointly launched Help Delhi Breathe, Haiyya, a grassroots mobilisation organization, and Ambee, a company working on air quality data and analytics.
The locations where the air quality was monitored included a number of schools, hospitals, markets, bus stops and government buildings, it said. They will first train the youths on air quality data monitoring, pollutants and how to read data.
The students hope to raise awareness about the health hazards posed by pollution. It is an attempt to mobilize the community in the fight to improve air quality, the statement said. It said the students have also talked to Delhi residents, developed content and are using social media to raise awareness about air pollution.
The message is simple: Delhi has an air pollution problem all year round. It becomes most visible during the winter, when climactic conditions (temperature inversion) meld with cultural imperatives (Diwali fireworks) and agricultural traditions (crop burning). Other contributing factors include increased vehicular pollution; growing public works such as construction, the statement said.
Data is very important when it comes to air pollution because so much of air pollution is localized, meaning sources of dirty air can vary from street to street. It is only through robust data and monitoring that we can start to identify the problem of air pollution and move towards implementing solutions, said Navdha Malhotra, Senior Campaigner, Help Delhi Breathe.
Sharing this experience of being a part of the drive, Brijesh Kumar, a student of PGDAV College and part of the group Geo-Crusaders Society said,
The people we spoke to during the drive, from kids to older citizens, said that they faced difficulty in breathing, had headaches, and watery eyes due to the air pollution. We gave them information about air pollution in Delhi, how it affects their health, and how we can work towards reducing it. We advised them to wear masks as much as possible.
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