New Delhi: On the occasion of the first 'International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies', a 12-year-old environmental activist wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding clean air for all, cautioning that if nothing is done, everyone will have to carry oxygen cylinders.
In a hand-written letter to the Prime Minister, Ridhima Pandey, belonging to Haridwar in Uttarakhand, said, "Sir, kindly help us by making sure that an oxygen cylinder does not become an essential part of the life of children, which we have to carry on our shoulders everywhere in the future."
She wrote that the air is so polluted that her "biggest nightmare" is to go to school with an oxygen cylinder. "I worry if a 12-year-old like me finds it hard to breathe, what must it be like for babies or children younger to me living in cities like Delhi and others," the 12-year-old rued.
Every year, in many parts of India, the air becomes very polluted and it becomes very difficult to breathe after October, she said, adding that if nothing is done about this soon, people will have to carry oxygen cylinders to breathe clean air and survive in the coming years.
Ridhima further raked-up the issue of linkage of air pollution and Covid-19 related mortality and called the situation worrisome. She said that air pollution in densely polluted cities is very high, making it hazardous for people living there, causing severe health issues.
"As our Prime Minister, you have accepted climate change as a reality. Today, on the 'International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies', on the behalf of all children of India, I would like to make a request to you. Please think about our future," Ridhima said.
She sought strict directions from the Prime Minister to all the concerned authorities and officers-in-charge managing pollution across India. "Ask them to strictly implement all the rules and regulations so that citizens of India can breathe clean air."
Last year, the United Nations General Assembly had adopted a resolution to hold an International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies during its 74th session. The day aims at raising awareness at all levels - 'individual, community, corporate and government -about the importance of clean air.'