Chhattisgarh Health Department launches a statewide awareness campaign on air pollution and health

As the winter and festival season approaches, many parts of India are currently experiencing extremely high levels of air pollution that can have detrimental impacts on health of the population. Keeping this in mind and safety of the population, Hon’ble Health Minister Shri T S Singh Deo and the Department of Health and Family Welfare of the Government of Chhattisgarh have initiated a State-wide awareness campaign on air pollution and health impacts.

“Chhattisgarh happens to be among those States which has very high number of mines and mineral based industries. Pollution is amongst the biggest threats to the health of the people, today and in times to come. We are witnessing a large number of cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, hypertension, diabetes, obesity among other ailments and there are shocking reports of people who are close to industrial areas. Very high percentage of the population is affected by the diseases related to mining and air pollution. With this campaign we hope to reach every citizen in the State and provide information that will help them protect themselves and their loved ones from the harmful effects of air pollution”, said the health minister.

“This initiative is being launched as many parts of our state and country are facing severe air pollution crisis. This is also keeping in mind that we have Diwali festival in two weeks. We should pledge this year to celebrate a smoke free Diwali. Firecrackers cause extensive air pollution in a short amount of time, leaving metal particles, dangerous toxins, harmful chemicals and smoke in the air for hours and days. Burning of firecrackers this Diwali will only exacerbate the already precarious situation. It will make the senior citizens, pregnant women, children and those with heart or lung conditions even more vulnerable. This year each one of us should make all efforts to protect ourselves both from air pollution and COVID-19 and celebrate festivities with safety and without use of any firecrackers”, said Additional Chief Secretary Ms Renu G Pillay (IAS).

“The State has done remarkably well in managing the COVID-19 pandemic, this could not have been possible without the hard work of all the health workers and cooperation of the citizens. We have come a long way and we should not let anything affect our efforts in protecting public health. This year the entire workforce of the State health department is actively engaged in advocating for pollution free winter,” said Shri Neeraj Kumar Bansod, Director Health Services.

“Latest research indicates that air pollution is likely to exacerbate the COVID-19 situation. It is because exposure to air pollution in long-term reduces the capacity of organs to function fully and makes it more vulnerable to infections and diseases. Given that COVID-19 virus also enters the body via the lungs, such individuals are likely to face higher complications, and more susceptible to severe form of COVID-19”, said Dr Priyanka Shukla, Mission Director of National Health Mission at Raipur, Chhattisgarh.

Dr Kamlesh Jain, the State Nodal Officer for Climate Change and Human Health said that “This initiative is also to strengthen the COVID-19 protection campaign in the State. The Department has launched a series of informative posters as part of the campaign and plans to publicize this throughout the state a various public location to educate the population on sources, health impacts and methods of protection from air pollution. These posters will be publicized widely in the state and through social media to raise awareness. We will also have these posters at all health centers for wider visibility”.

Awareness in the first step towards any action, with the series of informative posters we aim to provide accurate information to the public and protect everyone from the health hazards of air pollution. This campaign with strengthen the State’s effort to protect public health especially when the threat of COVID-19 is still around”, said Dr. Samir Garg, Executive Director, State Health Resource Center, Raipur.

The posters are in English and Hindi and can be accessed from this website.

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