I am a class 10th student from Springdales School in Dhaula Kuan, New Delhi. Climate change is an issue very close to my heart, something I feel so passionately about. Just because we are young doesn’t mean teenagers are incapable of creating change. For someone who never ceases to be amazed by science, I am aware of the challenges environment faces and so, I want to do my bit by innovating and then educating people about the importance of action against air pollution. I also want to work towards sustainable development goals and serve my country through my little actions and initiatives.
Bad air quality in Delhi-NCR has left children gasping for breath. Hospitals have been reporting a surge in respiratory cases. Delhi’s air quality has turned from bad to worse. Disturbed by these daily headlines, I discussed my concerns with my parents. I was taken aback when my father revealed that the incidence of respiratory patients has increased multifold over the last 20 years of his pediatric practice.
On top of it all, a study has revealed that a third of schoolchildren in four big cities of India suffer from reduced lung capacity, with Delhi showing the worst results, and this can be attributed to poor air quality. It set me thinking, something had to be done. Not just by the government, but by us. We have to identify strategies to deal with it, after all, it is about our health.
Dr. Jyoti Bose, the Director of Springdales schools encouraged and mentored me in my scientific endeavour to measure the vital capacities of middle school children with the hypothesis that playing sports and developing hobbies like singing could improve the vital capacity. A group of 60 healthy students, 13-14 years of age, with an equal number of athletes, singers, and non-athletes and non-singers were assessed with the help of a ‘students’ spirometer’. Vital capacities of both athletes and singers were found to be significantly higher than that of non-athletes non-singers with the performance of athletes being even better than singers.
It is crucial to comprehend that children are most susceptible to the harmful effects of air pollution because they spend more time outdoors, especially during the middle of the day when air pollution levels are higher. They demand significantly higher oxygen levels, and because of their small stature, their breathing zone is closer to the ground where the most polluted air is.
Air pollution around schools is linked to poor student health and academic performance. Realising the importance of tackling this pertinent problem—this is my attempt to find a solution. Opting for a healthy lifestyle and exercises may help tackle the menace of air pollution. Our PM Narendra Modi had also emphasised the importance of sports, yoga and hobby classes. Our health is in our hands.