17 November 2017

Dear friend,

We’re trying something new. Starting today, we’ll be sending a fortnightly newsletter, just to keep you updated on our campaigns across the country, and to give you a glimpse of the milestones and victories that we achieve with your help.

For a couple of weeks now, your Facebook and Whatsapp feed must’ve been full of smoggy and hazy images of North India. Everyone, including children, pregnant women, and senior citizens, has been living and breathing this nightmare. The government insists it’s nothing to worry about. But why should we stay silent when lakhs are suffering from fatal respiratory problems?

What’s worse is that Delhi organized a half marathon — 21 km of foggy run — on November 19. A member from the runners’ community in Delhi started a campaign asking the Delhi government to postpone this marathon. My colleague, Jyotsna, was in constant touch with him, pulling all stops to ensure that we don’t put people’s lives at risk.

The Indian Medical Association appealed Delhi High Court to intervene and postpone the marathon — but it happened anyway. Sigh. Hundreds of you took part in this campaign — thank you for showing your support! You can have a look at the petition here.

Fighting air pollution with our own data is one strategic tactic that we’ve implemented this year — we purchased air quality monitors and placed them in Koramangala, a residential neighbourhood in Bengaluru. For the past month, we’ve been tracking PM2.5 and PM10 levels there. It’s worrying to see that air quality in Koramangala has rarely been in the “Good” and “Satisfactory” zone. We send this data to our members directly on SMS.

Yes, we do a lot of mobiles campaigning as well. My colleague Premita knows best. Want to be part of our national list? Give a missed call here: 08030695889

We are constantly working to find innovative solutions to our pollution woes. We realized that some solutions are just around the corner — like the PUC or Pollution Under Control centres in your neighbourhood. But, PUC centres in most of our cities are not regulated — some centres don’t even have the right technology, some don’t have the right staff or sometimes there aren’t enough centres.

We requested volunteers to lead this campaign! Members from 10 cities stepped up, and almost 500 people have signed this nationwide campaign. Please sign this petition if you haven’t. If your city is not on this map and you want to lead, then write to me, and I’ll add your city to this list.

One of our biggest campaigns this year has been the implementation of clean air technologies in thermal power plants, one of the largest polluters in our country. You can read about/sign the campaign here.

In the last two months, we filed around 90 RTIs asking simple, pointed questions to  government-owned thermal power plants. So far, we’ve received only a handful of responses (non-satisfactory responses!). By December 7, 2017, more than 300 of these plants will have to implement new emission norms. Let’s wait and watch how many of them follow through. My colleague, Divya, will keep you posted on this.

Well, I spoke a lot today, and this is only half of all the cool things we do. Worry not! In two weeks, Jyotsna will write to you and tell you about our other campaigns!

Thanks for reading and taking action.
Noah and the Jhatkaa.org team

P.S. We have a job opening for a senior campaigner to help us with our air pollution work. Want to apply? Click here

P.P.S. Got some new campaign ideas and want to start similar campaigns in your city? Click here or write to me. We’ll come up with a plan.