Air pollution in India, especially in cities, is a major issue, with the country consistently performing poorly on global air quality indices. Moreover, reports have found that there exists disproportional exposure to harmful air pollution among vulnerable and underrepresented groups. The public health impacts of air pollution are also significant, causing respiratory and health issues in people.
During the Move for Earth initiative, various activities and informal discussions focused on air pollution. These included:
Clean Air art and photography events that involved an art and photography exhibition focused on solutions to climate change attended by 950+ youth, as well as another event highlighting a clean air drama and art contest, attended by 400 people.
In Raniganj, Mr Vinay Jaju, MD of SwitchON Foundation joined a photography group of 50+ youth for an excursion to a colliery in the nearby coal fields to highlight the myriad issues posed by air pollution caused due to coal mines in the region.
As a result of the alarming situation caused by air pollution, the Move For Earth community is engaging in the following activities to address the problem:
Medical Student Ambassador program: In West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha, the Move For Earth community has launched the Clean Air Medical Student Ambassador Program to encourage youth to be medical ambassadors of climate change. The medical community’s voice will have the biggest impact in helping communities understand the impacts of poor air quality as they have specialized knowledge regarding the health effects of air pollution. Through the program, 20+ medical student ambassadors undertake research studies on air pollution and its adverse effects on health outcomes, and participate in training and workshops.
The Clean Air Youth Leaders Program makes students aware of clean air and environment-related hazards and equip them with practical environment-friendly activities that they can take up in their homes and communities. The aim is to make future generations aware of the urgent need for attention to both clean air and the environment. Through this program, the Move For Earth community has hosted an Inter-School Clean Air Championship Program that onboarded more than 100+ schools to take positive action on air pollution through activities like training and workshop, competitions, events, micro projects, and online learning platforms. And the Clean Air Championship Cohort focuses on college students, by providing training, building awareness, and empowering a community of youth leaders to take up initiatives in favor of climate justice.
Empowering Environment Groups to tackle Air Pollution: Through City Chapter Meets organized in cities of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha, the Move For Earth community is advocating for the implementation of local city clean air action plans that include concrete steps for mitigating air pollution and the climate crisis by engaging different stakeholders. Some of the city specific issues like carbon emission by steel industries in Durgapur, Wetland restoration and air pollution in Kolkata, Waste management in Ranchi, Howrah and Bhubaneswar are often highlighted. More than 200 organizations in various cities have come together for these meets.
Training: Social media training on air pollution involving 100 organizations to understand how to create effective social media communications on air pollution.
Installation of 44 real-time air quality monitors across various schools in West Bengal and Jharkhand.