Apex industry body ASSOCHAM under the aegis of its Corporate Social Responsibility Foundation in collaboration with global consumer product company Reckitt Benckiser and Government of Punjab is launching a massive, year-long campaign aimed at raising public awareness on air pollution caused by burning crop residue in the state.
The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) in association with Reckitt Benckiser will set up 50 camps and use other outreach activities target over two lakh people including farmers, students and other stakeholders viz., government, community, industry, media and others in 95 villages of Punjab’s Patiala district as part of the campaign which will go on till January 2019 in a phase manner.
The campaign will be launched in Patiala on Friday, May 18 by Punjab Health Minister Brahm Mohindra in presence of top state officials like Punjab Pollution Control Board chairman Kahan Singh Pannu, Patiala divisional commissioner V. K. Meena along with Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, vice chancellor, Punjab Agriculture University.
While the industry’s perspective would be presented by Gaurav Jain, senior vice-president, Asia Middle East & Africa, Reckitt Benckiser (India) Pvt. Ltd. along with ASSOCHAM’s senior managing committee member, Dr K.D. Gupta and secretary general D.S. Rawat.
The major objective of conducting such a campaign is to spread awareness about hazards of crop residue burning and promote alternate solutions through co-operation and networking with peer groups, different agencies, organisations and individuals to improve ambient air quality in the region.
While promoting awareness and practice through behaviour change communication activities, participation and role of panchayats, corporate, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are certain other key objectives of this campaign.
A joint team comprising representatives from both ASSOCHAM and Reckitt Benckiser will organise street plays, use art to raise community awareness, paint walls with slogans about health hazards of air pollution owing to stubble burning, organise prabhat phery, meet local stakeholders and religious gurus to convey message to common people about significant negative impact of air pollution on environment and health.
Besides, they will conduct three workshops, come out with helpline numbers, mobile apps to resolve queries and release three studies to ascertain the impact of the campaign.
With a view to make room for winter crop, an estimated 35 million tonnes of paddy is set afire in Punjab and Haryana alone which contributes up to 60 per cent of Delhi’s air pollution thereby aggravating and triggering respiratory diseases.