Delhi to get clean air, finally!
With increased public pressure and media attention on air pollution, all three major political parties have included air pollution as one of their key points in the party manifestos for the assembly election taking place today ie February 08, 2020. While Congress has pledged to use 25% of their annual budget to work on Delhi’s air, bringing in 15,000 electric buses as well as giving a commitment to zero waste from government and private offices and a fund for stubble-to-energy technologies, the BJP has focussed on their network of air purifiers and public transport. They have been promoting electric vehicles and solar energy as an alternative to coal thermal power plants. AAP’s manifesto promises to plant crores of trees in the city, tackle the pollution from the Yamuna and reduce the overall level of emissions in the city.
With these party manifestos showcasing air pollution for the first time and with the Union Budget dedicating Rs 4,400 crore to air pollution for cities around the country, it looks like Delhi’s air pollution crisis will finally be over.
After weeks of campaigning and community engagement, the Dilli Dhadakne Do campaign successfully engaged lakhs of Delhiites around the city: election candidates, voters and citizen groups. What started with a Clean Air Manifesto turned into a citizen-led movement to petition election candidates to work for clean air. The citizens visited 30 different locations to speak to people about their experiences with pollution, to share information and their own stories, and to ask people to ‘vote’ symbolically, for a Delhi with clean air. The ballot boxes used for this event have been stacked into an artistic installation, to show the magnitude of the support for the movement.
Clean Air Manifesto, prepared by citizens groups, with nine solutions for a less polluted city was shared with them. Through tireless outreach and community interaction, 1.9 lakh votes were collected for Clean Air from 30 constituencies. These votes included sanitation workers, rickshaw drivers, young mothers, RWA members; Delhizens who have been tired of living in a city with toxic air due to lack of solutions from the government.