New Delhi: Picture this – A bunch of people coming together wearing a mask to make a statement. While some are wearing a mask with vegetables and fruits on it, the mask on a small girl’s face reads out ‘help’, some others are sporting a mask with a cycle made using paper on it. The objective of all these masks is to drive home the message to beat air pollution.
These individuals, belonging to different walks of life, have been brought together by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as part of their ‘Mask Challenge’, aimed at fighting for clean air. The challenge started by the UNEP on May 24 is in line with the theme of this year’s World Environment Day – beat air pollution.
How To Participate In The Mask Challenge To #BeatAirPollution
The challenge asks people to take a photo or video of themselves wearing a mask and post it on social media. Individuals who don’t own a mask can don the creative hat and make their own mask. The challenge further asks participants to take this forward by tagging three people/organisations/companies and challenging them to further do the same.
UNEP Suggests The Ways To #BeatAirPollution
While sharing the photo on social media, contributors have to briefly mention about the actions they will take to reduce air pollution. Here are some suggested steps to beat air pollution:
- Pledge to use public transport, opt for car pooling,
- Switch to cleaner modes of transport which include hybrid and electric vehicles,
- One can also choose to not use toxic-paints and furnishings which contribute to indoor air pollution,
- Take small measures like turning off the vehicle’s engine when stationary,
- Switch off electronic items when not required,
- Instead of burning waste, an individual can opt for waste segregation and composting of organic waste at the source. As far as non-organic waste is concerned, it can be sent for recycling.
Mask Challenge Gets Entries From All Across The World
Bollywood actor and UN Secretary General’s Advocate of Sustainable Development Goals Dia Mirza participated in the mask challenge by wearing an anti-pollution mask and pledging to compost waste. The actor shared her entry for the challenge on social media and said, “Air pollution is the silent killer, causing 7 million premature deaths every year. Globally, an estimated 40 per cent of waste is openly burned. To #BeatAirPollution with @UNEnvironment for #WorldEnvironmentDay, I’m committed to composting waste. What will you do?”
Air pollution is the silent killer, causing 7 million premature deaths every year. Globally, an estimated 40 % of waste is openly burned. To #BeatAirPollution with @UNEnvironment for #WorldEnvironmentDay, I’m committed to composting waste. What will you do? pic.twitter.com/V25zm9hf7R
— Dia Mirza (@deespeak) May 24, 2019
The impact of waste burning can be seen on rise in air pollution and poor air quality even in the mountains. Highlighting the same, the actor urged everyone to start managing waste at home by the way of segregation and composting. She added, ‘Stop anyone you see burning waste!’
#AirPollution is a serious threat to health. We need to act NOW to #BeatAirPollution. Stop anyone you see burning waste! Start managing waste at home by segregation and composting. I have. You can! @UNinIndia @UNEnvironment @moefcc pic.twitter.com/AOSfWB5bzM
— Dia Mirza (@deespeak) May 28, 2019
Following Dia Mirza, actor Mohit Raina, took the mask challenge and pledged to beat air pollution by planting more trees and composting waste. The actor shared, “14 of the 20 most polluted cities are in India. I am committed to #BeatAirPollution by (planting more trees) (composting waste). What will you do?”
14 of the 20 most polluted cities are in India. I am committed to #BeatAirPollution by (planting more trees) (composting waste). What will you do? i challenge @IamKirtiKulhari @ImRaina @authoramish to do the same #WorldEnvironmentDay @UNEnvironment pic.twitter.com/xyZ1gtNVlW
— mohit raina (@mohituraina) June 1, 2019
Bollywood actor Kalki Kanmani too pledged to contribute to reducing air pollution by shifting to a more sustainable mode of transport and saving greenery.
"Clean air belongs to all of us & there are so many solutions if we ask for them." From shifting to a more sustainable mode of transport ???? to saving our greenery ????, @kalkikanmani has taken her #WorldEnvironmentDay pledge to #BeatAirPollution – have you? https://t.co/OuDwA2X7WV pic.twitter.com/SjmPLtSlR4
— United Nations India (@UNinIndia) June 3, 2019
To beat air pollution, Joyce Msuya, Acting Head of UN Environment, pledged to walk more and everywhere.
Every minute, 13 people in the world die before their time, because of air pollution.
— Joyce Msuya (@JoyceMsuya) May 24, 2019
Keeping in mind the vehicular emissions that lead to nearly 4,00,000 premature deaths, a twitterati committed to using public transport, car sharing, cycle or walk to wherever and whenever possible.
Nine out of ten people breathe polluted air. Transport emissions have been linked to nearly 400,000 premature deaths. To beat #BeatAirPollution with UN Environment for #WorldEnvironmentDay, I’m committed to use public transport or car sharing, cycle or walk whenever I can and to pic.twitter.com/inz0Ynfg4H
— Manoj Padaiyachi (@imanojmj) June 3, 2019
Erik Solheim, former Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, pledged to use public transport for clean air. He said, “Clean air is possible! Air pollution can be prevented! World Environment Day 2019 June 5th will inspire action to clean the air we breathe. From clean commute to planting trees. Solutions are here! I pledge to use public transport.”
Clean air is possible!
Air pollution can be prevented!
World Environment Day 2019 June 5th will inspire action to clean the air we breathe. From clean commute to planting trees. Solutions are here!
I pledge to use public transport and challenge @AfrozShah1@LewisPugh@Lan_Marie pic.twitter.com/pp4uMjqi5q
— Erik Solheim (@ErikSolheim) May 31, 2019
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.