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Punjab NGO says 19% of deaths tied to air pollution, urges parties to make it poll issue

Ahead of the assembly elections in Punjab, a citizen's collective has submitted a set of recommendations on reducing air pollution to three political parties.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
January 15, 2022 7:21:00 pm
Air pollutionAhead of the assembly elections in Punjab, a citizen's collective has submitted a set of recommendations on reducing air pollution to three political parties. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)

Ahead of the assembly elections in Punjab, a citizen’s collective has submitted a set of recommendations on reducing air pollution to three political parties.

In a statement issued here, Clean Air Punjab said it had held town halls in October 2021, where experts and civil society members discussed and prepared recommendations to improve air quality throughout the state. These recommendations were compiled into a people’s manifesto, which was then submitted to the political parties.

On behalf of the collective, Gurpreet Singh, a member of the Punjab Development Forum and the director of the NGO called United Sikhs, submitted the recommendations to the SAD’s Daljit Singh Cheema, AAP MLA Aman Arora, and Congress’s Rajya Sabha member Partap Singh Bajwa.

“Punjab needs a strong leader who can implement structural reforms and revise policies to improve the air quality of all cities in the state. Our state wants its leaders to lead by example and provide answers to the air pollution crisis, which impacts the health of people,” said Gurpreet.

According to statistics put out by the collective, Punjab reported 41,090 deaths attributable to air pollution in 2019, accounting for roughly 19 per cent of the state’s total mortality.

“We will hold the new administration accountable for their promises,” said Indu Aurora, vice-president of Voice of Amritsar, another non-governmental organisation.

Clean Air Punjab and EcoSikh, which calls itself “a response from the Sikh community to the threats of climate change”, have been conducting conventions on air pollution across Punjab.

“Citizens of Punjab along with citizen groups, air quality experts as well as health practitioners have now been successful in building a momentum, which has now resulted in clean air and its impact on public health becoming a pressing issue for politicians who were earlier oblivious of the air pollution problem. We are now sure that they will not be able to ignore it any further,” said Anju Chabbra, a board member of EcoSikh.

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