In a step towards addressing the issue of rising air pollution in the country, V Citizens Action Network (VCAN), a non-profit organisation, jointly with Eureka Forbes and medical partner Healthspring launched a massive awareness campaign ‘Breathe Life’. The campaign was launched with a panel discussion and a keynote address, to highlight the grave health risks faced by police personnel and citizens and how to address them.
Air pollution has both acute and chronic effects on human health, affecting a number of different systems and organs. It ranges from minor upper respiratory irritation to chronic respiratory and heart disease, lung cancer, acute respiratory infections in children and chronic bronchitis in adults, aggravating pre-existing heart and lung disease, or asthmatic attacks. Police personnel, especially those on duty on the roads or in police stations, located in congested areas, are prone to lung diseases caused by heavy vehicular traffic emissions, dust and industrial pollutants. They are more prone to catching allergy and infection which can lead to asthma, and in extreme conditions, can cause the incurable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD). Same is the case of citizens.
Through this initiative, VCAN and Eureka Forbes with Healthspring aims to work towards behavioral change in Civil Society, by understanding what precautions citizens need to take, as well as the roles and responsibilities of; Individuals, Corporates & Industries, State Government and Union Government in respect to Policies.
Under this campaign, VCAN through its medical partner – Healthspring, will conduct a Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) for the police personnel across their network of 25+centres in Mumbai. Individuals with perceived heightened risk or ailment will then go through a Physician Consultation to determine causes, severity, symptoms, mitigation and a corrective pathway. In addition to this people who need ongoing care will be put under a chronic management plan wherein they will have access to ongoing consultations, tests and treatment, including referral to specialists as may be required.
The panel discussion commenced with Moderator Indrani Malkani, Managing Trustee, VCAN, enlightening all about the campaign and the activities proposed, followed by the introduction of the Chief Guest, the Keynote Speaker and the panelists by Shri. V. Ranganathan, Trustee of VCAN. The opening speech by Chief Guest Swadheen Kshatriya, IAS, Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra, initiated the panel discussion.
The Keynote address was delivered by Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, TERI. The program witnessed the participation by eminent list of panellists including Smt. Malini Shankar, Addl. Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra; Ajoy Mehta, Municipal Commissioner, MCGM;. Milind Bharambe, Jt. Commissioner of Police Traffic, Brihan Mumbai Police; Dr. Sujeet Rajan, Consultant Respiratory Physician; Marzin Shroff, CEO & Sr. Vice President Mktg, Eureka Forbes Limited; Kaushik Sen, CEO & Co-Founder, Healthspring. They all shared their insights and views on how one can contribute towards healthy living.
Each of the these panellists have domain expertise on specific facets of the issue; either framing policies that affect people, working directly with patients of air pollution related ailments, or implementing and enforcing policies.
An interesting round of Q & A followed, after the concluding remarks were made by Shri Swadheen Kshatriya, IAS, Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra.
Indrani Malkani, Managing Trustee, VCAN “We hear and read about the high levels – in fact, hazardous levels of Air Pollution, but we remain somewhat complacent about it. Today our Police Force is actually a victim of the onslaught of Air Pollution! Some forms of Pollutants, such as sound, water, garbage etc. we may be able to avoid by sound mufflers, water purifiers etc. and be able to survive them. But we cannot survive unclean unhealthy air!! All of us need to get our act together and ensure that we can ensure our Right to live in A City Where We Can “Breathe Life”!”
Sharing his thoughts on this initiative, Marzin Shroff, CEO- Eureka Forbes Limited said, “Today, air pollution has become one of the major health concerns, affecting millions of people across the globe. In India, especially, traffic policemen are the most impacted and vulnerable, given their prolonged exposure to vehicular pollution. With this campaign, we aim to reach out to these sections of the society, and employ a holistic approach of educating and helping people take preventive measures towards healthy living. We are hopeful to make a significant difference with the support of likeminded organizations such as VCAN and Healthspring.”
About V Citizens Action Network (VCAN)
V Citizens Action Network (VCAN) is a not for profit and non-political organization, set up with an aim to address issues of public concern through effective engagement channels, like a responsive web portal, live talk shows, social networks and action impacted programmes.
VCAN’s overarching objective is to establish effective linkages between Government and Citizens by working in partnership with the several Statutory Authorities including MCGM, Mumbai Fire Department, Mumbai Police and Election Commission of India.
VCAN’s Web Portal www.togethervcan.in was set up to deal with multiple issues that effect a Citizen’s daily life on a single platform. In order to make things even easier for the Citizens, VCAN launched their live talk show series titled “Together VCAN’s SOCIAL SANCHAR” with the motto “Interact with your Government from wherever you are”. These Social Sanchars enables the online internet audience to connect live with the Guest Speaker and the in-auditorium audience, from wherever they are, by Twitter, SMS or Skype Chat or Google Hangouts.
With these live talk shows, VCAN has helped in making the Government and Citizens interaction much simpler and convenient. It has also played a very important role in bringing to light the various issues and problems faced by the Citizens and often to arrive at solutions.