On the 60th day of the national lockdown in India, Jhatkaa.org released a intriguing video starring 12-year-old climate activist Ridhima Pandey, advocating for #SaalBhar60.
Why #SaalBhar60? More importantly, what does it mean?
The near closure of economic activity in the lockdown period led to the plummeting of pollution levels across the country. Citizens started to see clear blue skies, the air became clean and natural wonders came into view again — for instance, the Dhauladhar mountain range was seen from many cities in Punjab after three decades. The average air quality index (AQI) in most cities hovered around 60, including Delhi where it touches a hazardous 400 in peak winter.
Why not aspire for particulate matter (PM2.5) levels of 60 all-year round then?
In the video, Pandey calls on citizens to share photos calling for Clean Air in the lead-up to World Environment Day on June 5, so #SaalBhar60 becomes a massive citizens’ movement.
People from over 130 cities, young and old, joined the movement, sharing photos in different languages — with a unifying message: Clean Air for All. Here’s a wonderful compilation.
The #SaalBhar60 movement ties in with a national campaign addressed to PM Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman calling for a Green and Healthy recovery for India — to ensure that resuscitation of the economy doesn’t come at the cost of environmental concerns. Join the movement by signing here.