On Children’s Day, perhaps the first when schools were shut in the capital due to deteriorating air quality, Dia Mirza decided to meet the city’s young climate champions who have been leading the charge for clean air.
After spending time with them and hearing their ideas for solutions, Dia said, “These children are responding to a crisis positively, constructively through action and determination towards finding a solution, instead of resorting to a rhetoric that focusses on passing the buck. They (children) are committed to finding a solution.”
Delhi and neighboring states have been battling severe air pollution since Diwali. Annual farm fires and stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana have pushed air pollution in Delhi and the NCR region into the emergency zone with schools shut for the second time in two weeks. On Children’s Day, the Air Quality Index stood at a severe 472 which is clearly in the red. Experts say the air quality is so bad that breathing in Delhi is equivalent to smoking multiple cigarettes in a day.
Dia Mirza has been actively campaigning and using her voice to amplify the efforts of these young climate warriors against Delhi’s polluted air in demanding action from government agencies and all adults. She reiterated, “This is not just a Delhi problem, it is, in fact, a national crisis which affects everyone.”
She further added that children are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis. “This Children’s Day let’s make a commitment to do more. Not just for Delhi, not just for India but for the whole world.”
Over the past few weeks, Dia has been reaching out to thousands of people through her social media platforms to highlight the urgency of the pollution crisis. Dia has not only been asking questions but also demanding solutions and offering a few herself so that people feel empowered to make a difference. Dia’s efforts to actively advocate for cleaner air have seen her write columns, form partnerships with Governmental and non-governmental agencies as well as the United Nations.