Who knew that air pollution could be so dangerous indoors and outside? Indoors, air pollution kills approximately 1.8 million people each year. Unlike outdoor pollution, indoor pollution is health related and less of an environmental issue. As less fresh air gets indoors, the concentration of pollutants such as pollen, tobacco smoke, mold, pesticides, radon, asbestos and carbon monoxide is trapped inside the building. To highlight the problem ‘’NDTV Philips Breathe Clean Conclave’’ was organized on 25th August 2015 at the Taj Hotel, New Delhi. The two panel discussions were telecast in two parts. The first part was on on 29th & 30th August and the second part was telecast on the 5th and 6th of September, 2015. It was attended by leading medical practitioners, environmentalist, NGO’s, film makers, actors, and parent groups. A delegation led by the Principal Dr.D.R.Saini, Mrs. Rupa Das, Head of the Department of Geography and Mrs. Niva Chhonkar, Head of the Department of Biotechnology along with students,Harshit Malhotra, Shubhankar Mukherji, Shaurya Malik,Abhinav Priyam,Kaveri Kaveri Mahanta,Shreyas Bhargava,Nithya Asthana,Nimisha,Jaya Shambhavi,Divyanshu, Kusumita Chhabra, Bansari Rao, Ananya Bansal, Maulik Gupta, Utkarsh Pandey, Ojashvi Malik and Prithvi Rana from D.P.S. R.K. Puram attended the programme.
The Minister of Environment, Mr. Prakash Javadekar gave the opening keynote address. He expressed his concern about the issue and discussed the steps taken by his government. The first panel discussion titled “Breathe Clean: Act For Better Air” was anchored by Mr Vikram Chandra, NDTV. The panelists were Soha Ali Khan, actress; Prof. Sanjay Zodpey; A Krishna, CEO Philips India ; Mr Partha Bosu from Clean Air Asia; Ms Anumita Roy Chowdhary, Centre for Science and Environment; Mr Kailash Narayan Dev, MP and Dr Randeep Gularia, HOD, Pulmonology at AIIMS. Dr Gary Stutte from NASA via live link sent a message that research is being carried out to determine the feasibility of using plants as bioregenerative life support systems for long duration space missions.
Discussions revolved around major causes like use of firewood in villages, aerosols, poor air quality, indoor air contaminants, and allergies due to pets. It was shocking to know that the pollution level in the hall, of particulate matter size 2.5 microns, was more than even the busy Ashram area in Delhi and that one tablespoon of dust contained nearly 1000 mites and 250 allergens. The second half included the following as the panelists: Mr. Kunal Kohli, Film Director and a concerned parent; Dr. Vivek Nangia, Pulmonologist, Fortis; Ms Sushma Paul Berelia, President Apeejay Education Society and Mr Barun Aggrawal,an Indoor plants developer. The Panel Moderator was Mr. Ravish Kumar. A number of solutions like installing air purifiers, package recycling, opening windows immediately after rains, keeping certain species of indoor plants etc were discussed.It was suggested that the parents should encourage their children to take public transport instead of using their transport. A pledge to celebrate a Cracker-free Diwali was also taken by all those present in the show. Students also interacted with Mr. Ravish Kumar. Overall, it was a mesmerizing experience for the students.