Respected Prime Minister Sir,
My name is Riddhima Pandey. I am a 12-year old student living in Haridwar, Uttarakhand. I do hope you will read this letter from me, and respond. On September 7, the world will be observing the first ‘International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies’. One of the main aims of it is to raise public awareness at all levels—individual, community, corporate and government—that clean air is important for health, productivity, the economy and the environment.
Once at school, our teacher asked us about our worst nightmare. I told her that mine was coming to school with an oxygen cylinder because the air was becoming so polluted. This nightmare is still my biggest worry because polluted air is one of the biggest problems in our country today.
The air pollution in many densely populated cities like Delhi, Varanasi, Agra, Mumbai, Chennai and others is very high, making it hazardous for the people living there, causing severe health issues. Post the pandemic, we have read about many research studies suggesting a link between air pollution and COVID 19 related incidences and mortalities. This is very worrying.
Every year, in many parts of India, the air becomes very polluted and it becomes very difficult to breathe after October. I worry that if a 12-year-old like me finds it hard to breathe, what must it be like for babies or children younger to me living in cities like Delhi and others.
The air pollution in Delhi becomes so hazardous that people are not even able to breathe properly - you feel choked and suffocated. I am saying this because I witnessed this situation last year in Delhi on Children's Day.
Before the nationwide lockdown, we thought we would never be able to breathe clean air but the lockdown proved us wrong. The air became cleaner and the skies blue. It proved that breathing clean air for Indians is possible.
I am worried that if nothing is done about this problem soon, then in the coming years we would have to carry an oxygen cylinder with us to breathe clean air and survive. How would the common man afford this?
As our Prime Minister, you have accepted Climate Change as a reality. Today on ‘International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies’ on behalf of all the children of India, I would like to make a request to you. Please think about our future. Please give strict instructions to all the concerned authorities and officers-in-charge of managing pollution across India. Ask them to strictly implement all the rules and regulations so that citizens of India can breathe clean air.
Sir, kindly help us by making sure that an oxygen cylinder doesn’t become an essential part of the life of children, which we have to carry on our shoulders everywhere in the future.
Global Climate Activist
(The first-ever International Day for Clean Air and Blue Skies is on 7th September 2020. We’re collecting voices on issues such as air pollution, stubble burning, vehicular emissions, cycling from all parts of India. This is your chance to share your story with us!)
(The views expressed in the article are the author’s own. Let Me Breathe neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)