This project started with few of us coming together alarmed by the situation of Delhi during last winter and how Kolkata in-spite of being worse than Delhi was not getting any attention. This campaign is entirely born out of our individual health concerns, concern for our families and the citizens on Kolkata. We have reached a point where there is a big question if Kolkata is a safe city to live in. This needs to change and Kolkata Clean Air is an effort in that direction to make Kolkata most climate friendly and livable city.
We have launched a missed Call Campaign (9289 220 740) where a missed call by any citizen is followed by an SMS with a link to a Clean Air Pledge that also includes one question on how the citizens perceive the issue of air pollution in Kolkata. Along with this, we have formulated a questionnaire to conduct a perception survey with the population that have higher exposure to pollution due to their occupation e.g., taxi drivers, auto drivers, hawkers, traffic constables etc.
The air quality in Kolkata is largely an invisible problem with an unfolding health crisis. The data that we have observed from different monitoring station and our own monitoring devices indicate very high levels of PM2.5 and PM10 particles in Kolkata and various reports form researchers on the health of the citizens suggest one of every two people in Kolkata is affected by air pollution while 70 per cent of those spending six hours or more outdoors have unusual lung function results. This data in itself indicates how severe the the problem in Kolkata.
Kolkata’s challenge has a lot to do with the very high vehicular density due to very low road space (less than 6%), especially diesel vehicles which are said to be most polluting. Kolkata has earned itself two very infamous tags of being the “diesel capital” and the “lung cancer” capital of India. Along with the vehicular emission there is a rise in construction activities all across the city which adds to the problem.
Currently the entire focus is to build more awareness, mobilize more citizens especially the youth and most importantly engage all stakeholders in developing a sustainability plan for the city of Kolkata. However, we do not want to restrict ourselves to just the Kolkata Municipal Area but work on the entire Kolkata metropolitan area (Greater Kolkata).