With Pencils Made of Pollution, Delhi Kids Wrote 1000 Letters Asking Adults for Clean Air

Otrivin's initiative ‘Pollution Capture Pencils

Otrivin through its initiative ‘Pollution Capture Pencils’, is harnessing air pollution from schools to make pencils, and provide cleaner air to students

This article has been published in partnership with Otrivin. 

Air pollution is one of the biggest environmental threats in the world, especially for children. As per a Ministry of Health and Family Welfare report, India loses one child every three minutes due to this public health crisis. 

Children are more vulnerable to air pollution as their respiratory organs are still developing. They also inhale more air and thus have more air pollutants per unit of body weight. All in all, its impact on children is devastating, even impeding upon their day-to-day activities — going out to play, going to school, and more, as per the Ministry of Health’s report The National Programme on Climate Change and Human Health.

To bring this situation to light, Otrivin’s Actions to Breathe Cleaner programme is highlighting the ill-effects of pollution through the words of children. This Children’s Day, 1,000 children in Delhi, which is one of the worst-affected cities, have written open letters to adults, urging them to take an action to breathe cleaner.

The letters speak about the impact of air pollution on their life.

Letters written by children
Letters written by children to their parents asking for clean air

They called out how they are unable to go out and play, or are forced to attend online classes, and many such instances.

Through these letters, which have been written with “Pollution Capture Pencils”, the children are urging adults to take small actions, like taking a walk instead of driving, participating in tree plantation drives, turning off their cars while waiting at a red light, and using public transport. A common thread binding the words of over a thousand children is a desire to live in a pollution-free environment and a wish that every individual make small amends to build a better future. 

As part of the Actions to Breathe Cleaner programme, Otrivin Breathe Clean installed air purifiers to improve the air quality for approximately 1,000 school children. The pollution residue collected from these purifiers was then mixed with graphite* to create ‘Pollution Capture Pencils’. Kids have used these pencils as instruments of change by writing the open letters.

Watch a short film about the initiative below:

Otrivin Breathe Clean’s initiative is a step towards bolstering this commitment. The Actions to Breathe Cleaner initiative is trying to put the menace of air pollution centerstage in the minds of citizens of India by not only highlighting the problems it causes, but also by suggesting easy everyday actions that can combat it.    

Bineet Jain, Pain & Respiratory Health Lead, India Subcontinent, Haleon (erstwhile GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare), said, “Rising levels of air pollution in Indian cities is a big problem and children are one of the most vulnerable groups exposed to it. The ‘Pollution Capture Pencils’ have been used as instruments of change by children to express themselves through heartwarming letters. The letters make us realise the world that we live in through the eyes of children. These letters struck a chord with me, and I am sure they will appeal to everyone at large. If each one of us can take a small action to breathe cleaner, then together we will make this a better world for our future generations.”

Sandipan Bhattacharyya, CCO and MD, GREY Group, India, said “When a message for change comes from the ones who contribute the least to pollution, but are the worst affected, it’s bound to be compelling. This is a campaign to trigger introspection and action. So, we hope these letters from children, written with pencils made from carbon extracts from polluted air, makes each one of us take a small step for change.”

Otrivin also plans to use the pencils to raise money to buy more purifiers and install them in more schools.

To help Otrivin install more air purifiers across schools, you can contribute here.

Sources
NCDC
NCBI

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