Pune: 'Warrior Moms' Secure Political Pledges for Clean Air Initiatives From Dhangekar, Patil

Pune: 'Warrior Moms' Secure Political Pledges for Clean Air Initiatives From Dhangekar, Patil

The members are also in discussions with other Pune Lok Sabha candidates Murlidhar Mohol (BJP), and Vasant More (VBA) to bring them on board.

Indu BhagatUpdated: Sunday, May 12, 2024, 02:06 PM IST
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Pune: 'Warrior Moms' Secure Political Pledges for Clean Air Initiatives From Dhangekar |

In a significant move for environmental health, the ‘Warrior Moms’ group in Pune has garnered a pledge from Indian National Congress candidate Ravindra Dhangekar and Sainik Samaj Party’s Col Suresh Patil (Retired), promising to prioritise clean air initiatives.

This pledge marks a pivotal moment in the Clean Air Elections campaign, setting a precedent for political commitment to sustainability. The acceptance by the candidates is a commendable step which ensures willingness to convert intent into action if selected as a Member of Parliament. The members are also in discussions with other Pune Lok Sabha candidates Murlidhar Mohol (BJP), and Vasant More (VBA) to bring them on board.

ainik Samaj Party’s Col Suresh Patil (Retired)

ainik Samaj Party’s Col Suresh Patil (Retired) |

WHO guidelines related to PM

These mothers want ambitious new clean air laws that include a binding commitment to meet World Health Organization guideline levels for particulate matter pollution by 2030. They want to protect children’s health by tackling air pollution effectively. They firmly believe that every citizen deserves the right to inhale fresh, unpolluted air, and they’re unwavering in their commitment to hold political leaders accountable for environmental health. Their campaign sends a powerful message: environmental well-being is non-negotiable, and air pollution constitutes a public health crisis.

Swachh Hawa Chunav (Clean Air Elections) is an innovative campaign which invites all citizens who care about their environment and clean air to participate.

The call to action is simple: give a missed call to the campaign number: +91 89293 02665. Each missed call symbolizes an endorsement of clean air as a top-priority issue in the upcoming elections. The brilliance lies in its inclusivity—it bridges the digital divide, reaching both urban and rural voters.

Mothers speak up

The mothers advocate for clean air and express their worries and concerns about the deteriorating Air Quality Index (AQI) in Pune. Over the past seven years, the air quality in Pune has significantly deteriorated.

Member of the organisation, Vijaya Suratkal, while speaking with the Free Press Journal, said, “We don’t drink dirty water, so why do we tolerate dirty air and remain oblivious to its effects? Pune’s AQI ranges from 110 to 150, with PM2.5 levels exceeding WHO’s recommended limit by 2.5 times. Yet, there’s a deafening silence from politicians and the government. While air pollution affects everyone, children are particularly vulnerable because their organs and immune systems are still developing. It causes low birth weight, asthma, reduced lung function, respiratory infections and allergies in children, as well as increased risks of adult chronic diseases.“

“The air our children breathe is laced with chemicals and dust. It’s a sight that pains me—seeing our young ones and the elderly masked up, even outdoors. The rapid urban construction in cities and the decline of green spaces are alarming. In Pune, for instance, spaces earmarked for parks and gardens in many areas are left undeveloped. We are not even able to restore Pune’s green cover. The dust problem on Pune’s roads is a significant concern, particularly due to the surge in construction activities. It’s a clear sign of our misplaced priorities. Honestly, the intent behind NCAP (National Clean Air Programme) was promising, but the implementation has been lackluster. We’re still seeing PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels breaching the Central Pollution Control Board’s standards in many cities. It’s disheartening,” added Vandana Chaudhary.

“Air pollution crisis is not just about statistics, it’s the air we breathe every day. We are gasping for clean air. It is not just an environmental issue, it is a health crisis, an economic burden, and a moral challenge. Environment and clean air have never really been a top priority in our politics, but it’s time to change that. We need actionable policies, effective implementation, and a comprehensive mechanism to govern air quality management at the city level," said Hema Chari.

"The National Clean Air Program’s goal of reducing average particulate matter concentrations by 40% by 2026 in 131 cities is extremely important. Whoever ends up getting elected needs to take the implementation of these clean air plans seriously without pushing things back or finding excuses. We cannot keep pushing the deadline back; our cities need to start getting cleaner air as soon as possible. Each city needs to implement its clean air action plan without any excuses. Urban local bodies are responsible for making sure the plans are followed through without fail. Our kids deserve clean air, so let’s get these plans rolling already! Fighting for clean air is fighting for our future, and it’s a fight we can’t afford to lose,” added Chari.

Their Demands

1. Protect children's health by addressing local air pollution

2. Expand renewable energy sources

3. Enhance public transportation and aid in transitioning to cleaner modes of transport

4. Establish Clean Air Zones/Low Emission Zones in highly polluted areas, especially near schools and hospitals

5. Provide subsidized clean cooking fuel, ensuring coverage under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana for all underprivileged households

6. Develop city-specific clean air action plans (CAPs)

7. Enforce CAPs rigorously by Urban Local Bodies

8. Target sources of air pollution such as soil and road dust, vehicles, domestic fuel, waste burning, construction activities, and industries

9. Preserve existing trees and biodiversity

10. Revise and enact progressive clean air legislation

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