Have you watched a tree being hacked down and didn’t know which authorities to alert? Does your blood boil every time you see heaps of garbage or dry leaves set on fire and polluting the environment? Are you perturbed by the construction activity in your neighbourhood that goes on even at ungodly hours?
In the above situations and other similar instances where citizens feel disturbed but powerless as they are unaware of the remedial steps, Warriors Moms (https://linktr.ee/warriormoms.in) is the answer. This is a Mothers For Clean Air initiative, — a mothers-led ideation and action group that transcends language, demography, and location, to fight against one common enemy — toxic air.
“If one suffers, everyone does. We not only want to be the change, but demand change as well,” says Bhavreen Kandhari, a Defence Colony resident and core member of the group. “When we give birth to a child, as mothers, we pledge to protect and provide them with the best of everything we can afford. But what about the air we breathe in? Should we not be doing something about it?” she asks.
Warrior Moms was formed on September 7 (Clean Air Day) in 2020, with the rallying war cry, ‘Enough is Enough’. At present, it has 600 members across India, and the number keeps increasing as more mothers join in. The group has a strong social media presence, including a YouTube channel of its own. “I have been very disturbed seeing the overflowing garbage dump and the general lack of cleanliness in my colony. But as a common citizen, I didn’t know how to go about knocking the doors of the authorities concerned. This group has shown me a way out,” says Harmit Rajpal Masand, a resident of Sarita Vihar, who joined the group early this year.
In the last one year, the group has campaigned against indoor pollution, vehicular emissions and construction dust, and promoted safe cycling, clean cooking, waste treatment plants, and implementation of waste management by-laws. Last month, they launched a campaign to target the largest single-point polluters in the country — Thermal Power Plants (TPPs) that have resisted regulation for over seven years, getting extension upon extension.
“The MOEF emission norms were notified in 2015 to control particulate matter, sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen by 2017. But till date, 99% of TPPs do not comply with 2015 rules on SOx emissions. Our letter at bit.ly/tppletter has been signed by over 600 people, including prominent doctors, advocates, activists, actresses, scientists and writers,” says Sherebanu Frosh, Gurugram resident and another core member of the group.
Currently, Warrior Moms is sharing SOPs on how to register complaints, under its #KnowYourRights campaign. “One tends to just discuss or voice their angst on WhatsApp chats, which has no relevance in the legal recourse,” says Kandhari, adding that people can register a complaint and tag Warrior Moms on any social media handles. “That way, together we can bring about the required changes,” she adds. “We want Warrior Moms in each colony in every city across India, who will act as watchdogs and make authorities implement their own laws,” concludes Frosh.