New Delhi: TERI School of Advanced Studies organized a Climate Emergency Walk and an interactive session on the theme “Air Pollution” with the students of Sarvodaya Vidhyalaya, Vasant Kunj on 21st November. This was held as part of 24 Hours of Reality Program, an endeavor of The Climate Reality Project, founded by Gore to educate the public and inspire action on climate change.
With over 200 participants, the interaction was a call to action where the participants were made aware of the causes and impacts of air pollution through lectures, quiz competition and games based on the Sustainable Development Goals and were encouraged to take action at the personal and community level to mitigate Air Pollution.
Air pollution is one of the most pressing environmental issue and children and the elderly are the most affected by it. Report by WHO (2015) confirms the fact that most Indian cities are becoming death traps because of very high air pollution levels and we have been witnessing this for the last one month in Delhi. 14 out of 20 most polluted Cities in the world are in India. A global study conducted in 2017 revealed that Exposure to outdoor and indoor air pollution contributed to over 1.2 million deaths in India in 2017. Another study titled “State of Global Air 2019” reported that the life of a South Asian child growing up in current high levels of air pollution will be shortened on an average by two years and six months, while the global life expectancy loss is 20 months. An Air Quality Index of 900 which we experienced in the first week of November in Delhi is almost equivalent to smoking 40 cigarettes in a day.
Speaking at the event Dr. Fawzia Tarannum, a Climate Reality Leader mentioned that the youth has a critical role to play in fighting air pollution. Their role in influencing purchase decisions and action at the family and the community level can trigger environmentally responsible behavior. Dr. Kamna Sachdeva, an air pollution expert, mentioned that air pollution is ranked as the second risk factor for death in India, first being malnutrition, and elderly and children are at the highest risk of developing respiratory problems. She motivated the students to take action and not indulge in activities that contribute to air pollution.