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February 4, 2020

Citizens reflect on the growing challenge of polluted air in Jammu

Residents in Jammu maybe losing upto 4 years of their lives because of breathing polluted air.

University of Chicago’s Air Quality Life Index  (AQLI) has found that residents in Jammu maybe losing upto 4 years of their lives because of breathing polluted air. An awareness workshop in this regard was conducted by EPIC India in association with the Jammu University’s Environment Science Department in Jammu on 3rd February 2020. The workshop was attended by the Hon. Vice-Chancellor Prof. M. K. Dhar & other senior faculty members of the Jammu University.

Addressing participants on the occasion, Prof. M. K. Dhar, Hon. Vice-Chancellor, Jammu University, said, “Citizens always wonder, how they can contribute to solving a problem. All of us must take active initiatives to talk, discuss and look for solutions to maintaining clean air for our beautiful city. Platforms like AQLI are indicators of where we are & what more can we do.”

Sharing his insights on the impact of air pollution on human health, award-winning microbiologist & a senior consultant at the city’s Government Medical College, Dr. Sandeep Dogra said, “Jammu’s air quality has been a concern for a long time & its impact on human health has been unsettling. Cases of respiratory illnesses and other related disorders have risen steadily in the past few years. This shows the sort of impact that bad air quality has been having on the citizens here.”

Talking about how civil society can play an active role in curbing air pollution, senior journalist Mr. Pradeep Dutta said, “Jammu needs to take the lead in addressing the issue of air pollution effectively. Unfortunately in strife-torn Jammu And Kashmir, journalists fail to come out of “two killed -three injured syndrome. Their focus is only stories directly or indirectly related to traditional or non-traditional security issues. There is hardly any space for issues related to health, environment, wild-life, ecology or such social issues. Urbanization is happening at a rapid pace in Jammu and it will bring with it problems like air pollution. Citizens and the local media, need to actively get involved in the process of vocally communicating these concerns and working with the administration to look for solutions. ”

The workshop, meant to raise awareness about the impact of pollution on human health, was attended by more than 80 participants, consisting of environmental science students from the Department of Environment Science, Jammu University, faculty members, representatives from local NGOs & city journalists. All the participants were handed over a city-specific AQLI handout for increasing their awareness.