Divya Setia from India
"It's not him, it's the entire city"
This was the moment the penny dropped for us. Back in 2015, both me & my 3 year old child were suffering from repeated bouts of cough and cold. For the life of me, I couldn't fathom why this was happening. When I asked my pediatrician why my child was falling sick so often his response saying it was the entire city, sent me into research mode. Finally something I had read about it primary school science as a future menace became very real to me! Air Pollution was killing my child and every person we love! The fact that as a well educated aware person who knew what was happening around the world, I had missed the fact that the air pollution had exacerbated in our city to this extent had caught me by surprise.
As a young mother, my heart would break at the sight of my 6 month old on nebuliser. I would fight back tears and wonder why this was happening to us. Over the years I see the story repeat infront of my eyes for so many young families. Most being unaware that the child is suffering due to allergic rhinitis/brinchitis/childhood asthama caused by the toxic air they breathe and just putting it down to weather or poor immunity. Our governments for years let us stay in the dark about how the air we breathe is a slow poison. But enough is enough!
Families like us who are aware, run away from the city every Diwali when pollution peaks and we know that noxious gases get added to an already terrible mix. Each year we miss out on the biggest religious festival for us, our child misses celebrating with his extended family. We spend a significant proportion of our income on air purifiers, filters, masks and air quality monitors year after year to try to save our child from suffering. There are millions of families that cannot afford even this protection for their children.
My dream for the children of my country and the world is that they get to breathe clean air...that every breath they take does not poison them..that they wake up every morning to a beautiful blue sky and not the smog enveloped darkness every winter..and for that dream as parents we must fight today, the indifference and apathy of our elected leaders at home and around the world. Air pollution is a great equaliser...no amount of money will protect you from it. So please stand up and be counted!