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Lizzie Helen desde United Kingdom

Walking to the school gates used to be dreadful... Many drivers leaving their engines running and my children, barely waist high, at just the right height to inhale toxic fumes from exhausts. No wonder asthma and respiratory disease are on the rise. We must do better for our young people.

Hazel desde United Kingdom

My 3 children are affected by air pollution on a daily basis. They walk to school & college along main roads (where there is no alternative) breathing in toxic fumes as they go. The road outside their educational establishments are rammed with cars at drop off and pick up - and drivers idling their engines add unnecessarily to the already poor air quality. At home in the Autumn and Winter months they are subjected to peaks of horrendous air pollution from neighbours' log burners. The air is often thick with smoke from these mini-incinerators - an entirely unnecessary air pollution since wood-burning is just a lifestyle choice around here. If they walk just once around the block their clothes will smell of woodsmoke by the time they get home. Outside air quality obviously impacts indoor air quality too - woodsmoke can be smelt around their bedroom window frames. PM2.5 levels rise throughout the evening as neighbours burn. And now - with Covid19 and the need for increased ventilation in schools, domestic wood-burning pollutes them during the day too. The classroom windows are open and the pupils can smell woodsmoke inside - as residents around the school light their log stoves and the smoke makes its way inside school. There is no escape from the air pollution for my children and their peers. The health risks from this long-term exposure are well known and deeply concerning - affecting not only physical but also mental health. I can do very little to protect them from it. I have approached my local authority but there is little they can do either. With the Climate Emergency and risks to public health - action at a national level is needed urgently. Action on air pollution is also action on the climate crisis. Please act now.

Gomathi desde India

I dread the festival which I loved as a child, as now it invariably brings on serious episodes of wheezing and respiratory illness. I'm surprised that the authorities don’t take serious note of this unnecessary pollution. My old parents suffer even more. One time my father had to be hospitalised as there was so much smoke. He develops strong palpitation during Diwali every year, due to the sound and smoke. As a pet parent, I also fear for my dog who is traumatized by the sound.

Klaudyna Jackiewicz-Szewczyk desde Poland

It shouldn't be a privilege to ventilate your house. It shouldn't be a privilege to play outside in spring, autumn or winter. It shouldn't be a privilege to have a herb garden. It shouldn't be a privilege to do sports outside. Most importantly - IT CANNOT be a privilege to breathe clear and fresh air! Fresh and clean air should be our fundamental right.

This year, the Polish Supreme Court has ruled that the right to clean air is not a personal right. (Can You imagine?) It makes me sad and mad in the same time.

Sangeeta Chauhan desde India

We have suffered for years as we had to leave our Delhi home every Diwali (festival when crackers are burst) and retreat into the mountains to ensure that my 12-year-old son Shiv does not suffer another debilitating attack. Shiv, a promising soccer player who has played for local clubs and at international tournaments, hates leaving home and friends during the festival, but he doesn’t have a choice.

Given the Supreme Court order for green crackers only, we had moved to the outskirts and returned the day after Diwali thinking the situation would be better. No sooner than we entered Delhi, did my son start coughing and feeling feverish. Things got progressively worse and we had to move out, this time to Rishikesh, which meant two weeks of missed school and soccer for Shiv. He recovered as soon as we reached neighbouring state where AQI was good.

But for how long can we do this? Moreover the damage to his health is inevitable in this pollution.

Papiya Pal desde India

I am from Durgapur, West Bengal from a steel plant cum coalfield area. My children and I have to go through the GT Road and the road is fully covered with polluted smokes and coal dusts. Sometimes the road is so much covered with this smokes and dusts that the vehicles cannot see the road properly in the early morning. Even sometimes many accidents are held due to to this pollution. Once I saw bus accident due to this polluted smoke, where the bus was fully damaged and near about 7 people died. Apart this the workers of the Durgapur Steel Plant or the workers of the Eastern Coalfield Limited areas are having diseases like asthma etc. Even the people live near the area of Durgapur Steel Plant or Coalfield areas are having many types of breathing problems. Nowadays due to this pollutions and coal dusts many birds like Sparrows, Koels and even Parrots also are getting extinct. This is true that in this lockdown for covid-19 disease; when none of the vehicles where on the road, all of the factories and industries where closed down for at least five to six months, then our Mother Nature had cured herself.

Sudipa Bera desde India

I live with my 24 year old son and 17 year old daughter just near James Long Sarani at Behala, a city of Kolkata, West Bengal. In my childhood, I grew up in a place where we played a lot in the green lands with my brothers, sisters and friends together. But nowadays my children are restricted from playing outside as there is neither such a green land for them to play in nor fresh air to breathe.

Whenever we think about going outside for any issue we are really scared. Not only for this Covid-19 disease, but also for polluted air we use masks.

Sapna Agarwal desde United Kingdom

Me and my four children live close to a large, main road in Glasgow. We love living in a city with all the opportunities to connect with community and culture that brings and enjoy getting about by walking and cycling. I worry, however, that the children are breathing in too much toxicity. My youngest has asthma and sometimes really struggles to breathe.

When I was pregnant with him, I attended an ante-natal appointment at a different clinic to usual. To get there I had to walk 20 minutes up a busy main road. The midwife checked my breathing and assumed I was a heavy smoker (I've never smoked). After some discussion, we both realised my toxin levels were so high because of walking next to busy traffic immediately before the appointment. I feel so angry on behalf of all the children and developing lungs growing up next to that road.

Lockdown brought some beautiful respite but when restrictions started to ease and the amount of traffic increased again you could smell the traffic fumes in the air. It catches at the back of your throat sometimes. A couple of years ago I lost a good friend to lung cancer. She was in her late-40s, such a healthy person and keen cyclist. I often wonder if cycling behind toxic-spewing exhausts is what killed her.

Elizabeth Brandt desde USA

I became a climate activist when I became a mother, eight years ago. As soon as I held my baby daughter, climate change had a much more personal meaning to me. I saw that climate change could rob my child of the bright and safe future I had planned for her. I started taking action with first my older daughter, and later my second daughter, because their futures hang in the balance.

According to the recently released IPCC report, climate change is accelerating. This historically hot summer could be one of the coolest of the next decades. As a parent, that’s heartbreaking. On a recent trip to my hometown in Washington State, I couldn’t help but notice all the ways the climate has changed the landscape in the last decade. The glaciers on Mount Rainier are visibly diminished, even from 100 miles away, the change is starkly apparent. A heatwave shattered all temperature records at home. Farmworkers, who endure hazardous conditions to harvest valuable fruit crops, picked cherries with headlamps at one in the morning to salvage the July cherry harvest. Low water levels and overly warm streams decimate salmon runs, which is bad news for anyone who likes fish, whether you’re an orca whale or a restaurant patron.

Last August and September the Pacific Northwest was covered by an impenetrable lid of wildfire smoke. I spent days looking for a way to help my sister Claire, who has asthma, get to a place with clean outdoor air or at least a place with air conditioning. The air quality map for Washington State was unrelentingly purple and red, indicating extremely unhealthy levels of air pollution. The closest place with good air quality was in Wyoming. That’s nearly a thousand miles from Seattle. The only feasible solution for Claire was staying in her home, taping shut the edges of her doors and windows, and eating only cold food as cooking can worsen indoor air quality in these conditions. It was hot in her apartment, and she had no way to cool her home without letting in the filthy air.

This is moving towards a new normal, but it’s not normal. It’s an unacceptable scenario for disproportionately impacted communities, for farm workers, for fishermen, and for our kids who should be able to play outside without having smoke sting their eyes. In order to prevent our worst case climate scenario, we must take strong action now to reduce pollution from fossil fuels. Climate change is disrupting our lives, so we need to disrupt our approach to reducing climate pollution. Bold action is needed.

I am Valencia and Natalia’s mom. I am also Field and Special Projects Manager for Moms Clean Air Force. I live in Maryland with my family.

Anuja Bali desde India

Nobody told me. Why?

End of 2006, when we were moving from Mumbai to Gurgaon, nobody told me that life would be so different. From an independent mother of a child, I was to become a completely dependent mother of two children. About a month before the due date, during a sonography, my GYN was alarmed to discover that there was no amniotic fluid left and the baby was dry.

Nobody told me that directly from the scan center, the doctor would send us to the hospital with instructions to prepare for emergency cesarean. I wasn't prepared at all. It was the end of October. Our 4 year old was at home waiting for me.

Mystically, the Universe had it all planned. My mom had arrived at midnight, just to see how I was doing. I kept reminding myself that I was a healthy woman. Nobody had told me about the guilt I would experience after giving birth to a powder dry baby with low birth weight and baby jaundice. I took it upon myself to take extra special care of this baby who would always cry, sleep so little.

Nobody told me that by fighting this battle I would be sleep deprived, irritated, exhausted, but will still have to look after my older child who needed my love, care and support as a kindergartener. We struggled with the life changes, stayed at home, took special care of our delicate newborn.

Nobody told me that despite all the nurturing my baby would be gasping for breath at 8 months. Nobody told me how, disturbed and blank, I would have to rush to the doctor and spend that night at the hospital with this tiny baby on a nebuliser. Nobody told me how to deal with the feeling of being a bad mother who didn’t care enough, so the baby was wheezing and struggling to breathe.

Nobody told me from there it would be 2 years of this doctor, hospital, nebulize, routine that would take over my sleep, peace and happiness. Nobody told me how to handle my older child who was traumatised to see her baby brother - very often surrounded by gadgets - cry so much all the time. Nobody told me how to explain to my older child, without breaking her heart, why we don’t go for picnics and outings very much. The first two years of his life were a struggle. I was unprepared because I had a healthy first child who met all the milestones before time.

Nobody told me how to deal with this situation, I had never faced before. Finally it was time to say enough is enough and we decided to moved down south to Chennai. Nobody told me what to expect, but I had my baggage of bad experiences. Doctors were my best friends by now. From the adventurous, outdoorsy mother, I had become the overprotective, extra cautious worrier.

You would cry to know how my son’s first three birthdays were spent. Doctor's appointments, high fevers, nebulising, allergies, throwing up, chest congestion, colds, eye irritation, itchy red eyes and endless crying. It was not fun for any of us. I started noticing a good difference after his third birthday. He would not fall sick very often.

Slowly in a few months, he transformed into this super fun, chatterbox, little Harry Porter baby with glasses loved by all. We never imagined he could be this but we were very happy to see him healthier. Nobody told me that Gurgaon would do this to us. Nobody ever told me about the toxic air pollution in Gurgaon. Why did nobody tell me then that when I was breathing, my unborn baby was breathing polluted air, which did not harm me as much, but it was spoiling his health?

Why did nobody tell me about air pollution and how dangerous it is? My baby and the entire family missed out on the best part of his childhood, the first few years. How can I get it back? Nobody has the answer. Nobody cares.

But I do, that’s why I have now decided to be a Warrior Mom and fight for all the children’s right to breathe clean air.


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