Supply Particulate Respirator masks to rural areas in NCR

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Today, when someone says 'Diwali', you don't think about the festival of lights. Instead, you think about pollution and firecrackers. Each year, we release unprecedented amounts of toxic waste into the atmosphere and the air pollution levels across the sub-continent spike up to five to eight times above the safe standard.

CSE readings show that levels of carbon dioxide and particulate matter increase significantly during the festivities leading up to Diwali, and are the highest on the day itself. Last year, the center recorded a level of PM2.5 — measuring the fine particulate matter that can enter the lungs and bloodstream — that was ten times the recommended standard. It was three times as high as Delhi’s average real levels, which are already considered unsafe.

A few weeks ago, we at Project साँस (the Hindi word for breath) conducted a survey, both online and offline, to establish where the market for 38 million dollars worth of firecrackers came from. After deliberative analyses, we established that the majority of the expenditure was carried out by the middle and upper classes of society.

Thus, we tracked down our cause.

At the same time, we ran a parallel survey enquiring about where the market for air purifiers and particulate respirators was most prominent. As you can guess, the answer to this was the same as the previous. This led us to a very important result.

The majority of Indians who burst crackers on Diwali already have access to a cleaner form of air, be it in the form of mechanized air purifiers or particulate respirator masks.

This conclusion is harrowing. For the simple reason that it reveals that the lower classes of society, and those living in rural and slum areas, bear the blunt force of the toxins that are released into the air during Diwali. And when you realize that these are the very same citizens who do not have access to facilities like air purifiers and basic masks, you see that the people who do burst crackers aren't paying the price: the lower classes of society are.

And that's the truth. They are suffering. Every year, they lose loved ones to the same diseases that we are prone to: heart diseases, lung cancer, COPD, respiratory infections, and so many more. And they have no way of getting out of this ugly cycle with the financial constraints on them.

That's why, this year, we're taking a stand. At Project साँस, we'll be distributing free respiratory masks in rural areas.

But we're not enough. Enough to make a small difference, but not enough to spark the change that is so desperately required at this point.

That's why we need the government to take charge. We need them to do exactly what our rural areas need: to save them. 

It's not a permanent solution, but it's one that will save hundreds of lives. 

You made a promise to all of your citizens: now it's time to fulfill it. 



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