In the age of smart phones, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that government is utilizing the digital space to improve the well being of its citizens. Netizens, more precisely.
The Environmental Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, set up on the order of India’s Supreme Court in April, launched the Hawa Badlo, Change The Air, app on Friday, 21st October to combat air pollution at the ground level in an inclusive format.
By enabling complaints against pollution violations through mobile devices, the Hawa Badlo app makes the entire process of engaging the citizens in developmental initiatives like this one less cumbersome and more relatable.
“The app aims at inclusive participation of citizens in reporting incidences of leaf and garbage burning, building and construction dust and unpaved road dust, and thereby makes them part of the city’s fight to curb air pollution,” Bhure Lal, chairperson of EPCA said.
I like how the Hawa Badlo initiative allows me to lodge a complaint against pollution sources around me. I can simply take a picture and send it across the app to the registry to provide evidential proof on the defaulter I want action against.
Think of this like Instagram, just specifically generic and official in kind.
By providing a direct connect between the people who live in the polluted environments and people who can do something to rectify it, it majorly empowers us. Depending on the success of this initiative, maybe Delhi does not have to continue to be the world air-pollution capital indefinitely.
The app helps you keep a track of your surrounding pollution levels after you log in, keep a track of your complaints and also track the progress of the same through the same. The Hawa Badlo app also has a section for the officials to update responses to the complaints with evidence of their redressal.
This is neither the first app that the government has released for us, nor the first clean-air initiative in the Capital. Proper enforcement being a big hindrance in the matters of our Indian governance, we can only hope that both the citizens and the officials will do their bit earnestly to curb this menace.
Maybe the Swacch Bharat campaign wasn’t the success it should have been, but it at least raised a huge amount of awareness about our habits, and our limitations. Clean air is a necessary pre-requisite for a good life, so this definitely required special attention to put stringent checks on the innumerable defaulters degrading the fragile health of or air.
It’s quite a good move ahead of Diwali. Even though it won’t mean that people will go green with their solutions, it just means that at least some kinds of pollution will be reported.
Ironically enough, if everyone were to report the air pollution that happens on Diwali alone, they would have enough complaints to get back on in the next 6 months. I guess that is why they are limiting the kinds of pollution they can keep a lookout for.
So, here’s hoping things fare better with this Change The Air or Hawa Badlo campaign!