Mothers, doctors join hands to address air pollution in Lohardaga and Bokaro districts
Mothers of Lohardaga and Bokaro districts of Jharkhand joined hands with doctors in tackling air pollution by creating awareness session on the issue.
Over 600 mothers hailing from different panchayats at Lohardaga and Bokaro attended the conferences held simultaneously at these districts on Friday.
In Lohardaga, the conference was organised by NGO Hope and Warrior Moms, a nationwide mothers network for clean air while in Bokaro, it was organised by NGO Samvad and Warrior Moms.
Mothers shared their
personal stories of dealing with air pollution on a day to day basis — from having to live with the toxic fumes coming out of earthen stoves to living with the pollution from stone quarries and mining activities.
“We want to see Lohardaga free from air pollution and we want each one of you to work towards the goal,” said Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Jharkhand Dhiraj Prasad Sahu who was present at the conference.
According to data available with the state government, only 32 per cent households in Jharkhand have access to clean cooking fuel such as LPG which makes the issue of biomass burning (use of chulhas) crucial in the state.
Several mothers who convened at the conferences have been working on creating awareness in the community on the issue of household air pollution caused from the chulha, which poses huge risks for the health and well being of women and children due to their high exposure to it.
Manorama Ekka, Warrior Mom from Lohardaga and founder-trustee of NGO Hope said, “There are various hurdles in the transition to clean cooking fuel in rural areas- from financial constraints, perceptions about LPG and social norms. What we need to tackle the issue is a mix of policy intervention and behaviour change campaigns. This conference is one such platform that brings the two together — we discuss the issue, create awareness and work towards solutions.”
Gynaecologist Dr Anjana Lakra said, “Effects of inhaling the toxic fumes from chulhas range from mild- like cough, sneezing and trouble in breathing to severe such as — lung damage and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Most of these impacts are seen after years of chulha usage by which time it is too late to act. Thus timely awareness and intervention is a must to tackle the issue.”
“We aim to take this forward because we are really worried about the future of our children, who have to deal with the consequences of rising air pollution.
“Currently we are working on a project where we are mapping air pollution sources in different panchayats and we hope that this can help us collect data which we can then take to policy makers and request action on,” said Deepmala Devi, a Warrior Mom from Jarandi panchayat, Bokaro.
The Bokaro conference also saw a photo exhibition that highlighted the adverse impact of mining on the health and well being of locals in various parts of Jharkhand.
Jharkhand emerged as India’s eighth most polluted state according to the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) annual report released in June 2022.