Rohan Kumar is a Fellow at Youth Leaders for Clear Air Fellowship by Clean Air Fund in the collaboration with Pravah.
Here, Rohan is sharing his story of being a part of this prestigious fellowship and designing and executing his unique Social Action Project to address Delhi’s acute air pollution problem.
His 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 his 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 social media page. I have been associated with Pravah in different capacities earlier and given that air pollution is the most pressing issue for Delhi so I decided to apply for it.
We are breathing in toxic air on a daily basis and it is high time we start taking action. The question of our health and well being is associated with clean air. We’re in a race against time to keep ourselves safe.
What is the most pressing concern with respect to Air Pollution in Delhi?
The most pressing concern for Air Pollution in Delhi is the number of vehicles present in Delhi. There are more vehicles in Delhi than in 4 other major cities combined.
Even though we have metro and buses, the proportion of private vehicles has been increasing consistently and adding to pollution in Delhi.
Apart from this dust is the biggest contributor to air pollution. We need a robust public transport system to tackle these challenges with buses and cycles along with the metro.
What problems does your project solve? Briefly describe your efforts to address the issue.
My social action project aims to particularly address the lack of ownership and awareness with regard to pollution. People feel pollution is just there when it is visible but it is all around the year.
There are two ways to tackle it, the first is to reduce the polluting sources and at the same time increase green areas and green initiatives. I have been using social media campaigns to reach out to people and connect with them.
At the same time, I also organized a nature walk in Yamuna Biodiversity Park to understand nature more closely.
What motivates you to work towards the long term sustainability of the environment?
I feel very connected to nature having lived in a very green neighbourhood with trees all around. Nature is not only important for our physical health but also our mental well being.
It is our responsibility to ensure the sustainability of these resources for future generations as well. Having a clean environment is required for a progressive society and that is what keeps me going to work towards it.
What impact you have affected or plan to achieve?
I have reached out to more than 16,000 people online and organised a nature walk which was a fantastic learning experience. It felt like visiting a jungle in the middle of a city. It was also extremely important to understand the linkages between different elements of nature like animals, soil, water resources, plants, birds, insects etc. In the coming days, I plan to reach out to more people through offline events.
What challenges did you face during the journey? How did you overcome them?
The first and the foremost challenge was the pandemic which forced things online during a time which was perfect for people to meet and interact. Online awareness is important but nothing can match the physical experience that a person has. This was a big challenge to keep people engaged online as well for which I used various interactive techniques like polls, questions etc.
What are the skills and values that you acquired during the fellowship?
There are many skills that I have acquired as part of this fellowship. The first is project management. The fellowship requires interacting with multiple stakeholders. Managing the planning and execution and at the same time ensuring visibility of the work.
I have also learnt how to ask for help when required and more importantly, take a step back when required. Content creation, designing, and ideating are some of the skills I have also improved on.
How do you plan to sustain your project further?
An important aspect of a social cause is the power of collaboration. I am looking forward to collaborating with like-minded folks and organizations to reach out to more people through various means. With things opening up, offline events can be done easily and people can connect with each other and learn from each other in a better way.
Using the combination of the online campaigns with offline action is what will get more visibility and inspire more people to work towards a sustainable and pollution-free Delhi.
How can people reading this contribute to your project or cause?
The first thing is to start with sustainable practices. Not using plastic, walking whenever possible and using public transport. Planting more trees is required. Pressuring the govt to tackle this issue on a policy level year-round and not just during high pollution months. You can also connect on Instagram and share your thoughts at @beingdilliwaala with me.
How can others follow in your footsteps towards sustainability?
They should start using public transport whenever possible. Carpool with friends and family. Do not use plastic and absolutely not burn anything even if for fun. Even a single small fire is contributing to the pollution. People should plant more trees and stay close to nature as much as possible.
We at Young Influx would like to take this opportunity to thank Rohan for taking a leap of faith and sharing his impeccable story with us. We appreciate his efforts and are pleased to bring out his story to a climate-conscious audience.
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