‘Declare health emergency in Delhi,’ 9-year-old climate activist requests govt as pollution spikes

As Delhi faces another tryst with air pollution, a nine-year-old climate activist, Licypriya Kangujam has appealed the government to declare health emergency in Delhi, emphasising that people are choking due to the noxious air.

The national capital has been recording severe category air quality since the last five days due to an increase in stubble burning and unfavourable wind speed. Delhi’s air quality index stood at 474 micrograms per cubic meter at noon, almost touching the hazardous category.

“I would like to appeal to everyone to not use firecrackers to celebrate Diwali, because it creates a lot of noise and air pollution which is very dangerous for our health. Millions of children are dying every year due to the air pollution crisis,” said Licypriya Kangujam, holding a placard which read “Declare health emergency in Delhi. We are choking!”

Kangujam, who is also the founder of ‘The Child Movement’, has always been on the forefront of the fight against air pollution. Last month, she and 12-year old activist Aarav Seth were briefly detained by the police for protesting against the rising air pollution outside Parliament House.

“I am fighting to save our planet and future. Please celebrate Diwali by not using firecrackers. If we are all together, we will fight this air pollution. We can make a change if we are together,” Kangujam further said.

Speaking to IANS, Aarav Seth said: “Enough has been said and done for saving the environment. Now is the time to take action and to ensure clean air for us and generations to come.”

On a brighter note, the National Green Tribunal on Monday imposed a total ban on sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers in the National Capital Region from November 9 to November 30. The direction also apply to all cities and towns where the air quality during November fell under the ‘poor’ and above categories.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel emphasised that citizens are entitled to breathe fresh air which right cannot be defeated on the ground that enforcement of such right will lead to closing of such business activity.

Meanwhile, Delhi’s neighbouring regions – Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Noida and Greater Noida — are also logging severe quality of air. Gurugram and Greater Noida’s air quality remained the worst amongst all, with air quality of 484 and 483 micrograms per cubic meter, respectively.

According to Ministry of Earth Science’s System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research, “Low dispersion condition continues in Delhi region along with high fire-related intrusion, this has led to the accumulation of pollutants near the surface. No quick recovery is expected unless a drastic reduction in fire counts takes place.”