Amid rising pollution level in the city, thousands of Gurugram residents on Sunday morning converged at Leisure Valley in Sector 29, Gurugram to raise their voice over the environmental concerns and assert their right to have clean air.
People from all walks of life joined the protest against administrative lethargy in dealing with the hazardous atmospheric pollution which is getting worse by the day.
Several NGOs and civil society groups such as Citizens for Clean Air, I Am Gurgaon, Let's Walk Gurgaon, Gurgaon Moms, Gurgaon First, Gurgaon Community Circle, Why Waste Your Waste, Garbage Free India, Literacy India, NASSCOM Haryana among others participated in the campaign.
Pawan Tayla of Art of Living said, “It was absolutely heartwarming to see the citizens of Gurugram from all walks of life, children, street vendors, doctors, corporates, schools, NGOs giving a rallying cry for clean air and clean breath.”
During the protest demonstration, doctors from Max and Fortis hospitals spoke about the extreme health implications of the bad air.
Ruchika Sethi, founder of Citizens for Clean Air, said, “It is important to remember that the pollution, which might be visible at this time around, but remains at hazardous levels throughout the year. While seasonal factors certainly add up and multiply, but it's the persistent local factors which have a greater role in rising pollution levels.”
“Today's is a step towards uniting the city on the demand for enforcement of policies and laws which uphold environmental safety and most of all, places public health on priority list of administration and law enforcers,” she added.
Students from several schools including Shriram School, Shiv Nadar, Heritage, Scottish High, Ryan International School and children from various Government schools like Manpur School, Aharawan School, Bahin School, Saini Siksha Niketan, Agrasar Bachpan – Islampur, Agrasar Bachpan – Sikanderpur, Aravindam Gurukul, Marumal Senior Secondary School Gurugram, Neev School, Maurya Girls School, Sahapathi Sahal Shiksha Kendra, Vedik Girls' High Secondary School Gurugram and Indian Hospitality School College also voiced their concern over the growing pollution.
A letter, on behalf of Gurugram residents, will be submitted to the state Chief Minister stating their demand for clean air, enforcement of laws against waste burning, sustainable transport etc. The residents also took an oath during the protest and hoped to find a lasting solution to the problem of air pollution.
Meeta Shah, a marathon runner and a resident of DLF 4, said, “It is extremely difficult to live in this city with this kind of pollution. Being an athlete, it is difficult to do any kind of physical activity in this situation and even those who do not have any breathing problem prior are now complaining about breathlessness and eye irritation.”
Corporate leaders and startup founders including Nagarro, Make My Trip, IBM, Genpact, Sapient, Egon Zhender, Vivtera and Bata also joined the campaign.
Manas Fuloria, CEO, Nagarro said, “We employ 5,000 people in Gurugram, and NASSCOM companies employ maybe 100 times this number here and form the main engine of the economy. We are suffering greatly on account of this air pollution. Our people are unwell and are frustrated. Some are leaving for other cities and countries. And our international clients are nervous. They are cancelling their trips to India. Instead of Gurgaon coming across as the Millennium City of India, it is coming across as a dystopian apocalyptic city.”