KOLKATA, NOVEMBER 18: Around 300 children took to the streets of Kolkata today demanding their right to breathe clean air in observance of Child Rights Week. School children of Government and private schools as well as several organizations walked from Elgin Road to Academy of Fine Arts as a part of the ‘Walk for Clean Air’ initiative.
Concerned about the detrimental effects of air pollution on children and the associated rise in mortality rates and health issues, especially during the winters, around 1,500 children in 3 other cities, including Durgapur, Burdwan and Asansol hit the streets advocating for what they called their ‘fundamental right to breathe clean air’. The initiative is aimed to raise awareness about the importance of clean air for the well-being of children and to emphasize their right to grow up in a healthy environment.
The young children highlighted the need for collective action to address air quality issues. Through the walk, children conveyed that access to clean air is not just a privilege but a fundamental right that must be safeguarded. A school student attending the walk, said, “I have seen my friends suffer from breathlessness. I have a constant cough and cold and can’t enjoy sports or play outside. It is time to take actions to tackle the increasing air pollution which is causing health issues among us.”
Underscoring the importance of clean air for children and adults, Chairperson of West Bengal Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, Sudeshna Roy, said, “Our children’s plea for clean air is a powerful reminder that their right to a healthy future must be prioritized. Let’s take action, make the air they breathe safe, and show our commitment towards keeping them well.” (Courtesy: TS)
Echoing the concerns of Sudeshna Roy, Dr Kaustav Chowdhury, pediatric consultant of an eminent private hospital in the city, informed, “The fine and ultrafine particulate matters may directly traverse through umbilical blood vessels and affect the foetus (inutero baby) and causes a systemic inflammation which can produce behavioural problems in a child after birth. It’s our duty to bring and nurture a child to this beautiful world which should be air pollution free.”