Garima Agarwal is a Fellow at Youth Leaders for Clear Air Fellowship by Clean Air Fund in the collaboration with Pravah.
Here, Garima is sharing her story of being a part of this prestigious fellowship and designing and executing her unique Social Action Project to address Delhi’s acute air pollution problem.
Her efforts are actively bringing substantive changes in the lives of the residents of Delhi and empowering them to take meaningful action towards a cleaner, greener Delhi.
Go on and read how her story inspires you(th) to take action because the time is now!
How did you come to know about the fellowship? What inspired you to take it up?
I came to know about this fellowship through Pravah’s Instagram stories. I have previously done some fellowships in other fields like quality education, gender equality etc but it was for the first time that I got an opportunity to work for nature and the environment.
Also, when I did some deeper research I realised that people don’t see it as individuals’ own responsibility towards the air pollution and don’t take steps to bring it down.
Instead, they put the blame on others and keep finding faults. It’s not just only humans who are suffering from great breathing problems and other kinds of diseases caused because of polluted air but other organisms as well who can’t even speak!
Just in the name of modernization and technology humans have exploited nature up to a great extent. therefore, it’s important that some serious actions are being taken by each one of us.
What is the most pressing concern with respect to Air Pollution in Delhi?
I always had this question in mind- we do study about environment and pollution and there are so many schemes and policies introduced by the government but still every year Delhi’s air quality has been deteriorating, why is it so?
As I grew up I realised that it’s all because of our own carelessness. With each passing year, it has become more and more difficult to even breathe clean and fresh air. One of the eminent reasons could be construction work happening in Delhi. It produces a lot of dust particles in the air which are so minute that it causes a lot of pulmonary diseases
What problems does your project solve? Briefly describe your efforts to address the issue.
I believe that one of the reasons for air pollution is a lack of awareness and ownership and for this, I have designed some awareness sessions where we all could come together and create a space to share our thoughts and stances on the issue and how we can tackle them.
The next step is the opening up of eco clubs in schools where every week there would be some sessions taken on how to recycle, reuse or recreate things as well as on how we can adopt certain measures in our daily lives to create a better future for us and our next generation.
What motivates you to work towards the long term sustainability of the environment?
“There is no second Earth” – we have only one earth and we must protect and keep it green. We have already deteriorated it a lot and now it’s time for the payback. It’s important that the social action project should be sustainable so that even if you are gone, the good cause will not get stopped, there will be people to take it forward.
Also in the first place, we decided to go for sustainability because we are passionate about it. Bringing a social change is not a result of just some weeks or months. It takes a long time. Even if plant a single tree it takes years for it to go and so our project should also be designed in such a way that it keeps going on for a greater impact.
What impact have you affected or plan to achieve?
As we say youngsters are the future of any nation my target audience is school going students and adolescents. I have impacted more than 270 college students online, 800 school students offline and around 150 people indirectly and more than 300 people through my social media stories and posts.
What challenges did you face during the journey? How did you overcome them?
It was very difficult to find organizations or schools because of the lockdown. But eventually, I collaborated with my college’s Green Society and took 2 sessions online.
Later on, when the lockdown was not there anymore I went to different schools and got to work with 2 of them.
What are the skills and values that you acquired during the fellowship?
Skills: Communication with authorities, Fundraising, Mobilisation and Session Designing
Values: Empathy, Non-judgemental, Self-belief and Self-appreciation
How do you plan to sustain your project further?
I am working with youth and adolescents and making them aware of the issue so that in the future they can also work on it.
How can people reading this contribute to your project or cause?
People can contribute in 2 ways. First by following here mentioned actions and second by contacting us if they know any school or organisation which doesn’t have an eco-club or where we can conduct some awareness sessions.
How can others follow in your footsteps towards sustainability?
People can take small measures in their daily lives to reduce air pollution. For example: using clothe bags, adopting or planting more plants and saplings and taking good care of them, carpooling, segregating wastes, not burning firewood, not littering here and there etc. Even though these actions seem very common their impact is great.
We at Young Influx would like to take this opportunity to thank Garima for taking a leap of faith and sharing her impeccable story with us. We appreciate her efforts and are pleased to bring out her story to a climate-conscious audience.
And hello, dear readers, we welcome you to explore our platform. Give yourself a chance to be illuminated by a varied range of stories of other young people. Read more such stories here!