Did you know that 16 lakh People were killed due to air pollution in 2019 in India. That’s 17.8 % of the total deaths in the Country. These are the findings of the new Lancet report on health and pollution.
Killer Air is a big concern and raising public awareness on this is a key to drive action.
Public Sector giant Gas Athority of India Ltd popularly known as GAIL launched Hawa Badlo Campaign, with an aim of sensitizing people about the harmful effects of air pollution, promote sustainable lifestyles and advocate for the adoption of Natural Gas as a cleaner energy alternative.
“Saason Ki Jarurat Hai Jaise” - is a short story about 3 senior females who are closest to the end of their lives, and are raising ‘Alarms’ of various kinds of the body and health – and busy taking care of the alarms with the help of modern medicine, therapies, recipes and tools like the i-watch. The tables turn when we realise that the healthiest and more aware citizen is the most senior amongst them, and she is raising the most fundamental Alarm of all.
This film was at the heart of the Hawa Badlo - Air Pollution Ka Alarm campaign launched on the occasion of World Environment Day 2022.
Started in 2018, Hawa Badlo campaign has had different themes each year. From ‘Change the Habit, Change The Habitat’ which was about sensitizing people to the health harms of air pollution to “Bring Back the Blue Skies” which reached 20 million people in 2 months.
From using autos and web series in 2019 to roping in health and fitness icons like Milind Soman in 2021, engaging with children through Hawa Badlo warrior campaign 2.0 to tying up with the art foundations, the campaign has employed multiple mediums to make the desirable impact.
Hawa Badlo turned into a social movement against air pollution raising public consciousness digitally touching more than 30 million plus lives each year.
Emphasizing that time bomb is ticking. As every 23 seconds, an Indian die from air pollution, it is imperative to take action now. If we continued to use the fuels we use today by 2030, the air would be so toxic with pollutants that oxygen would have become a permanent necessity as we could not live without it.
Many Indian cities now rank among the world’s most polluted cities.
According to a study led by researchers at the University of Birmingham and UCLA, air pollution was responsible for an estimated 1,00,000 premature deaths in cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Surat, Pune, and Ahmedabad.
It is not that the mechanisms for public participation do not exist, they need to be disseminated and more widely used. Hawa Badlo is testimony to how various media channels can be leveraged to scale up citizens’ interest, influence and actions, and provide the much-needed impetus for successful transition – in our case – curbing air pollution and living in harmony with nature.
Richa Jain Kalra is a seasoned editor who has been a leading news anchor on national television for over 18 years. She is a master communicator driven by the purpose of making a positive impact on society.