Shimla, Dec 9 (IANS): All it took was just nine days for the giant pair of faux lungs installed at a busy junction of Ludhiana in Punjab to turn dark black from chalk white, raising concerns amongst citizens about the health impacts of breathing in polluted air.
The lungs billboard is a part of the larger campaign initiated by Clean Air Punjab along with EcoSikh, BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, and Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) to raise awareness about deteriorating air quality in the Malwa belt.
Titled 'The Billboard that Breathes' these artificial lungs were put up outside the BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School in Shastri Nagar.
Experts, as well as local residents from Ludhiana, have asked the Punjab government to consider this experiment as a warning bell and take strong measures to improve the air quality in this area.
According to Gurpreet Kaur, Campaign Manager, EcoSikh, the Lungs billboard turning black in a week should be an eye-opener for all to imagine what's happening to our lungs.
"We are fully aware of the worsening air quality in Ludhiana. We expect that efforts to lower pollution levels will be coordinated by the government and the public as the health of many are at stake due to the toxic air," she said.
Over a thousand students and educators have visited the lungs billboard last week and voiced their concerns about the increased air pollution.
Meanwhile, the billboard has also drawn the attention of locals who have been making a beeline to it.
Local residents like Anju Chhabra, who visited the lungs billboard, called it one of the best ways to depict the health impacts of air pollution to create mass awareness.
Calling access to clean air a fundamental human right, which the children are being denied, Samita Kaur, a Warrior Moms member, stated the greying of lungs billboards put up in Ludhiana were evidence of the air's toxicity.
"Punjab has nine non-attainment cities. What purpose does the industrial growth in cities like Ludhiana serve? We don't want Punjab to have a deplorable standard of living; our kids deserve better," she said, adding despite Punjab having a high cancer rate and a high childhood asthma rate, society chose to disregard rootcauses of the problems.
Samita Kaur went on to add that as a mother she is not only worried for all children breathing toxic air but also extremely upset. "I want the relevant authorities to take pollution seriously since it's a health emergency and no longer can be ignored."
Anuja Kaushal, Principal of BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, lauded the efforts by Clean Air Punjab for taking steps to raise much needed awareness on air pollution and suggested that taking sustainable steps in daily routine is the need of an hour.
"Rising air pollution is a wake-up call for everyone to take preventative measures to minimise health risks," said Vipra Kal, Environment Manager of the school.
A similar pair of lungs installed in Mumbai in January 2020 took 14 days to go black, while one installed in Delhi (November 2018) just took six days.