Ninety-four per cent women construction workers, surveyed as part of a study conducted in Delhi, never raised their voice or took any steps to prevent the negative impact of air pollution because of the fear of losing their jobs.
The Purpose India and Mahila Housing Trust (MHT) jointly executed a project with women construction workers from Bakkarwala, Gokulpuri and Sawda Ghevra in Delhi from August 2021 to April 2022 to mobilise and enable them to understand the impact of air pollution on them and their children’s health and, by doing so, build knowledge and pressure among local governments to support policy and action.
A baseline study was conducted among 390 women construction workers to understand their priorities and issues in their lives, and articulate the impact of air pollution on this group.
The sample households were characterised by respondents mostly 36 years and older and mostly illiterate or with low educational levels.
Those surveyed were predominantly Scheduled Castes, followed by OBCs and a majority (87 per cent) were married.
Around 85 per cent of the women agreed that air pollution has a negative impact on human health, and 75 per cent reported that they feel sick or uncomfortable when the air quality is bad, it said.
More than three-fourths of the respondents believed that working at construction sites is harmful for their health.
The study said 76 per cent of the women were aware of the problem of air pollution.
All the participants were ignorant about the terms PM 2.5, PM 10 and air quality index, the report said.
“Ninety-four per cent women never raised their voice or took any steps to prevent the negative impact of air pollution due to the fear of losing their jobs,” it said.
Only 6 per cent women took steps to prevent the negative effects of air pollution (using masks or dupatta to cover their face, wearing full-sleeved clothes, trying to raise concerns relating to air pollution at construction sites, or sprinkling water on debris).