Tell us on Twitter how you are choking

Updated: Nov 03, 2019, 09:21 IST | Gitanjali Chandrasekharan | Mumbai

A young Delhi couple is documenting stories of the effects of pollution, hoping the debate shifts from deferring action to finding a solution

Jugal Purohit and Sapna Nair Purohit (top right) recently met a vegetable vendor who sits outside a Delhi mall for eight hours, inhaling fumes
Jugal Purohit and Sapna Nair Purohit (top right) recently met a vegetable vendor who sits outside a Delhi mall for eight hours, inhaling fumes

Delhi's air has once again hit headlines, when firecracker emissions, stubble burning and non-favourable meteorological conditions, have caused the air quality to deteriorate. As journalists and Delhi residents, Jugal Purohit and Sapna Nair Purohit, have been observing pollution levels at multiple levels. Firecrackers are impacting lives and behaviour, but media reportage is not extending to documenting those who are affected by it on a daily basis. "Also, the discussion around pollution tends to be seasonal, while the problem is perennial," says Jugal.

On their part, the Purohits take weekend trips across the city to meet people affected by pollution, and post their stories on Twitter and Instagram.

Through this effort, the couple realised that most citizens don't understand how they are being affected by vehicle fumes or debris dust.

Speaking of a vegetable vendor that he met on a pavement outside a local mall, Jugal said that she sits on the road for eight hours daily with her husband and daughter. "When we met her, we got talking and it took me over 15 minutes to explain to them what pollution was, to begin with. Initially, they confused it with hail storms. Finally, when she understood what we were referring to, she asked me, 'Right, so what about it?."


Jugal says, this is the point of the conversation when he asks his interviewees, "now that you know this, do you know what to do about it?" This time, however, the vendor responded with, "It's a rude reality to know that I am being poisoned while simply sitting here and trying to make a living."

The Purohits have decided to distribute masks to every person they interview to offset the effects of poor air quality. What they hope to achieve with a regular conversation, is raise awareness and make citizens familiar with their rights, and via documentation, move the debate from buying time to drafting solutions. Yes, it's a Delhi Insta handle, but it's a Mumbai, and an India story.

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