New Delhi: Children are standing up for their right to breathe and protesting against the general apathy of our policymakers towards the pollution apocalypse in Delhi and North India. Children’s Day saw hundreds of children gather at India Gate in the heart of Delhi, with handmade black roses to draw Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attention to their plight and the future they have inherited where there is no fresh air to breathe. The pollution crisis and the restrictions it imposes on life and health prompted yet another child to write to the Prime Minister.
Vidya, a 11-year-old student of Shri Ram School, voiced her concern about the rising air pollution and its impact on children like her to the Prime Minister. What prompted Vidya to write was a buildup of the events as they played out over the last one week. Schools in Delhi were closed to protect children from exposure to dangerous levels of air pollution. But the toxicity in the air rose to “severe-plus” category on November 13 when schools in the national capital reopened after remaining closed since November 9 due to “severe” air pollution levels. The decision to shut schools affected more than a million children. The closure of schools and the health advisory issued by Indian Medical Association (IMA) that all outdoor activities, including school assemblies should be suspended, got 11-year-old Vidya to pen a letter to the Prime Minister.
It is really hard to breathe in the pollution and we have to wear masks. You can wear mask for a while but after sometime, you feel suffocated. Schools were all cancelled and sports days and trips on which children have been working on for months just got cancelled. It’s not fair but we have no choice because of the pollution, said Vidya while talking to NDTV.
In the letter addressed to the Prime Minister, Vidya wrote about how air pollution is impacting life of school children, “We can’t go out and play because of air pollution, and we are not having proper childhood which is not fair to us.”
I have written a letter to our Prime Minister in an effort to tell him that he should do something for us. Air pollution is really a big problem, especially for kids and elderly, says the 11-year-old.
She also urged people to come out and collectively to solve the problem of air pollution.
“Everybody should help out to curb air pollution. It’s our country, we live here and air pollution is really bad for not just our health but for people living on the streets who have nothing – no air purifiers or masks. With nothing at their disposal, people living on the streets need more help,” she urged.