Last month, 12-year-old environment activist Riddhima Pandey posted a letter on her social media account, addressing Prime Minister Narendra Modi about her worst nightmare of going to school with an oxygen cylinder. The Haridwar-based eco warrior’s concerns over growing air pollution had become a talking point on social media as she found support from diverse sections of netizens for taking a stand on the issue. Social media—especially Twitter and Facebook—has emerged as the new platform for activists and common citizens to highlight an issue which impacts the lives of all.
Warrior Moms is one such group of mothers fored on September 7 this year—the first International Day of Clean Air—to highlight rising air pollution. The group includes mothers from Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Chennai, Lucknow and other towns. The group is seeing a steady rise in more mothers joining the movement @Warriormomsin.
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Chaitra Mukund of Warrior Moms from Bangalore says, “One of the reasons why so many mothers want to be part of this movement is that they have experienced the sufferings of their children due to air pollution. Mothers also know that one doesn’t require to be an expert or a scientist to understand how air pollution might impact their children.”
Boston-based scientist Pallavi Pant established the platform, IndiaAQ Hub, in 2013 for disseminating information on various aspects of air pollution.Besides her Twitter/Facebook accounts @airqualityindia, Pant blogs at https://indiaaq.blog/.
Tamseel Hussain’s platform www.letmebreathe.in is powered by mobile storytelling, where users can find stories on pollution, environment and climate change, create compelling content on issues they believe in, find collaborators for campaigns focused on collective action and learn from the best experts on how to use digital tools and build an unbiased climate movement of their own. “Currently we are a family of 500K monthly active users, 20,000 storytellers and 51 decision makers interacting via a platform for local and national clean air solutions,” says Hussain.
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Vinuta Gopal from Bangalore has been actively involved in a mission for clean air since 2012. She founded Asar, which is a social impact startup that supports a national Clean Air Collective. She says, “We are a loose collective of organisations, citizens’ initiatives, experts, scientists, think tanks, all working towards a common goal of clean air for all. It is clear that unless citizens become involved and advocate for actions that will improve our air quality, we are going to live through a public health crisis every day.” On Twitter, check out @MRTB_India, a national citizens’ movement and @AQI_India for real time information on air quality.