Designer Gaurav Gupta is campaigning to raise awareness about the city’s alarming pollution. (Amal KS/HT)
But it hasn’t. And the fact the people aren’t paying attention to it now really annoys Delhi-based designer Gaurav Gupta. “I can’t believe people are not talking about it. It’s a joke!” he exclaims. “It’s like our tolerance level is way too high and we don’t value life that much. The pollution level is not only a one-time Diwali conversation. Everyone should be talking about it.”
Gupta emphasises on the fact that PM 2.5 (invisible concentration of particulate matter in the air) in Delhi at any given point of time is between 250ug/m3 and 1000ug/m3, as compared to the permissible 60 ug/m3. “Imagine! This is the air that we’re breathing. This is a [state of] emergency, which neither the authorities nor the people realise.”
As a citizen, Gupta plans to do something about this. He is starting a pan-India campaign that aims to raise awareness using popular faces across industries. “What’s the point of having a social standing and a voice if one can’t use it for a purpose?” he asks.
Calling it The Anti-Pollution Riot Campaign, Gupta plans to hold community activities, parties, and use influencers from media, fashion, cinema and more to highlight the severity of the issue.
The campaign will kick off in Delhi — starting with a gathering today — where participants will wear anti-pollution masks, in order to drive the message home. “Wearing these masks, putting it on social media… it’s all to make people realise the reality and urgency of it all. We have to start taking control of the situation, and we need to do it now,” stresses Gupta.
Other Delhi-based members of the fashion fraternity are very supportive of the idea. Model Sonalika Sahay says, “I think we all need to realise that it’s something affecting each one of us. There was a time when I used to send my kids to school wearing masks, though that stopped after some time. But the reality is, the air quality hasn’t improved. I’m happy that as an industry, we are opening a discussion.”
Designer Anand Bhushan is every bit as charged up as Gupta. “The air quality in our city is horrible!” he says. “Problems with breathing, skin allergies… it all comes down to this. The very fact that a designer is making the effort to start a dialogue on an issue affecting everyone is remarkable — and, it’s much needed, too.”