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Lucknow: Citizens gather at Rumi Darwaza to demand clean air

The citizen-centric initiative was a part of CEED’s ongoing ‘100% Uttar Pradesh’ campaign, which aims at creating a sustainable environment.

lucknow Updated: Nov 23, 2017 15:05 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Lucknow,Centre for Environment and Energy Development,Uttar Pradesh
The air quality data released by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) showed that Lucknow’s air was most polluted among that of all the cities in the country on November 14, 2017.(Deepak Gupta/HT Photo)

To raise awareness on the health risks posed by the alarming air pollution levels in Lucknow, several bodies representing the civil society of Uttar Pradesh collaborated with the Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED) to conduct an outreach programme at the Rumi Darwaza on Tuesday.

The citizen-centric initiative was a part of CEED’s ongoing ‘100% Uttar Pradesh’ campaign, which aims at creating a sustainable environment. It urges the state government to formulate a ‘Clean Air Action Plan’ that includes practical and indigenous solutions for checking the pollution levels both in the state and in the city.

The air quality data released by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) showed that Lucknow’s air was most polluted among that of all the cities in the country on November 14, 2017. The air quality index was ‘severe’ -- worse that Delhi’s.The concentration of the finer particulate matter (PM2.5) in the city was seven times the safety level of 60 µg/m3. Officials said it could be attributed to high vehicular emission and the movement of air pollutants due to crop stubble burning in the western part of the country.

High PM2.5 levels can aggravate respiratory and lung diseases, cause eye and throat irritation, and worsen asthma, bronchitis, hypertension and breathlessness. Long-term exposure to this particulate matter can also cause lung cancer.

Stressing on the need for immediate action, Munna Jha, head, political advocacy at CEED, said, “It’s not Delhi alone. The air of the whole Gangetic plain is now polluted and filled with toxic gases and finer particles hazardous to human health. We cannot afford to live in denial anymore. Air pollution is the key factor behind 20% mortality in the country. It is imperative for us to join hands and work collectively.”

Shedding light on the ‘100% Uttar Pradesh’ campaign, Jha said, “The campaign is supported by a large number of people from all walks of life. We have demanded formulation of a ‘Clean Air Action Plan’ with a timebound enforcement. We also aim to educate the masses about the ill-effects of air pollution.”

Lending his support to this citizens’ initiative is Ajay Sharma, secretary, AMALTAS. “Through today’s activity (at Rumi Darwaza), we wish to send out a clear message to the government to take steps to reduce the rising levels of air pollution in our city. We must act now to stop Lucknow from turning into a gas chamber. We urge the government to take an emergency response, issue health advisories and urgently bring the situation under control,” he said.

The organisers of the progarmme said that like any other enforcement framework, the ‘Clean Air Action Plan’ should have a set of action priorities, regulations and management measures for mitigating of air pollution. They said the action plan was essential for improving real time data monitoring and should work towards forming emission profiles for every polluting sector.

First Published: Nov 23, 2017 15:05 IST