Recently, a group of mothers met to talk about air pollution and its impacts on their children. This focused conversation led to a new initiative- Mothers for Clean Air. It is a mothers-led movement in India demanding clean and safe air for our future generations. Being a mother is not a criterion for inclusion. Find them on Twitter.
We spoke with Sherry Frosh and Bhavreen Kandhari to learn more about this initiative:
What is Mothers for Clean Air? What inspired you to set this up?
I believe that mothers have a unique and powerful superpower. When we come out to protest, it is rare and it is important and we get a huge amount of sympathy for our cause. Something about a mother protecting her child, it’s an ancient instinct that everyone can understand. Right now I believe (and science corroborates) that there is a substantial threat to our children’s lives and health and mothers are the right people to be in the front of the fight for clean air.
As mothers, what are your biggest worries with respect to exposure to air pollution for children?
That my children are smoking an average of 7 cigarettes a day is worry enough, but when I think of all our children – an entire nation sickened and stunted by a factor that is relatively easy to mitigate (when compared to the ill effects) – I’m shocked at the scale of the problem and think it’s high time that mothers came out as a powerful force to press for a solution.
Is this network focused on a city or is it nationwide?
Nationwide. 90% of India’s children are breathing unsafe air.
What are your focus areas?
Being informed, spreading awareness and taking action will be the three major focus areas. Our mission is to push the change in technologies and policies needed to get to a zero-emission & #AQI 60 for our children.
According to you, what are the three key steps that need to be undertaken to address air pollution in India?
That’s a question for scientists and policy experts. We have some excellent people working on this, and the government has access to them all. As a mother I am not so concerned about what steps are taken, as I am for a healthy now and future for my children.
Can other mothers join you?
Of course. In fact we extend the invitation to all those who care for any (or all) children or in fact all life forms. It’s the mother’s instinct we want to organise, not just mothers themselves.