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March 4, 2020

Academics and Policymakers in Chandigarh discuss air pollution and AQLI

Residents in Chandigarh may be losing upto 5.9 years of their lives because of breathing polluted air.

University of Chicago’s Air Quality Life Index indicates that residents in Chandigarh may be losing upto 5.9 years of their lives because of breathing polluted air. An awareness workshop in this regard was conducted by EPIC India in partnership with Panjab University in Chandigarh on 3rd March 2020. The workshop was attended by Mr. T. C. Nautiyal, (IFS) CF, Department of Forests & Wildlife cum, Member Secretary, Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee, amongst other distinguished guests.

Addressing participants on the occasion, Mr. T. C. Nautiyal, said, “Ensuring clean air and environment is a collective responsibility of the administration and citizens. The pollution control board in Chandigarh has always believed in policies that are people-centric and encourage citizens to participate and work with us together as a team for our city. Initiatives like AQLI are a good step in that process and there is a lot that we can mutually benefit as a society from exchanging this information and taking the right steps to ensure a healthy environment for the citizens of this city.”

Sharing his insights on the impact of air pollution on human health, respiratory medicine specialist and renowned pulmonologist from the city, Dr. Sanchit Wadhwa said, “There is an obvious change in the air quality of Chandigarh. The rise of respiratory-related illnesses has also seen an upward curve in the past few years. Rapid urbanization, traffic emissions, people’s lifestyle and of course emissions coming from districts surrounding the city do impact the citizens’ health negatively.”

Speaking at the workshop, Mr. Pramod Sharma, Founder of Yuvsatta, added, “Proactive citizens are the backbone of any good society. Air pollution is one of the biggest challenges we face, not just in Chandigarh, but the world over. Yuvsatta has been working on a lot of initiatives with aware citizens and young people. Platforms like AQLI are much-needed help in that process. Today’s workshop is just the beginning of a positive people movement towards ensuring clean air for Chandigarh and setting an example for the rest of India.”

Talking about how civil society & the media can play an active role in helping highlight air pollution, senior journalist Mr. Dinesh Goyal said, “For a tiny city that we have, I don’t find journalists in Chandigarh giving appropriate space for stories related to critical issues like air pollution. We have platforms like AQLI that are giving us critical information. We need to be more proactive collectively as media.” 

The workshop, meant to raise awareness about the impact of pollution on human health, was attended by more than 70 participants, consisting of students & faculty from various streams at Panjab University, representatives from local civil society organizations & city journalists.
All the participants were handed over a city-specific AQLI handout for increasing their awareness.