Parisar conducted a air quality perception survey, with a focus on the four vulnerable groups, namely - wastepickers, traffic police, hawkers and rickshaw drivers in the city. This survey evolves from a similar one done by Parisar in 2018, the major difference being the focus on the different stakeholder groups this time. The driving force behind designing the survey differently this time was the fact that air pollution affects everyone, but its impacts vary with exposure. We wanted to understand how these four vulnerable groups understand and perceive air qualityFor cities to be liveable, a number of civic issues have to be addressed and planned for. While transportation, water supply, solid waste management have been the more visible, urgent matters for a long time, air quality is fast becoming a civic issue which demands and deserves urgent attention owing to the fact that it has now become a public health emergency.
Air pollution is now considered to be the world’s largest environmental health threat, accounting for 7 million deaths around the world every year. In 2019, 1.67 million deaths were attributable to air pollution in India alone, accounting for 17.8% of the total deaths in the country. The majority of these deaths were from ambient particulate matter (PM) pollution and household air pollution.
The National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) launched by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) in January 2019 aims to reduce pollution by 20-30% by 2024. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has prescribed the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) in 2009 under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act. Under the NCAP, 122 cities which have high pollution levels have been mandated to prepare Air Action Plans to improve air quality. Maharashtra 18 such cities - the highest in any state. The survey covers a range of issues like particulate matter, Air Quality Index, health impacts of air pollution, corelation between Covid-19 and air pollution and air action plans. Of the 4 categories that were selected for the survey, 100 responses were collected from traffic police, 104 from waste pickers,100 from vendors and hawkers, and 105 from autorickshaw drivers. The remaining 113 constituted other lay citizens.
As a step towards engaging with these groups over the issue, Parisar also conducted webinars with each group. Along with dissemination of the survey results to the respective group, the webinars were structured to involve those on ground, along with those who could help bring more awareness in each group. These webinars were streamed live on our Facebook page and can be found here;
As part of deeper engagement with these groups, we are happy to share that the respresentatives of three vulnerable groups wrote letters to the Additional Commissioner of Pune Municipal Corporation, Dr Kunal Khemnar, raising the issue of air pollution impact on them and suggesting actions of improving it. Letters were written by Sanjay Shanke, Secretary of the Janeew Hawkers Federation, Harshad Barde , Director, Swach and Nitin Pawar, Secretary of Pune Rickshaw Panchayat.
The survey findings were collated category wise and individual reports for each category were prepared in Marathi. These can be found below.
The detailed report inEnglish can be found here.