Healthy Air, Healthy Climate
In Chennai, India, pollution and face masks have become normalised. People have become so used to living in a degraded environment, the health impacts that stem from this, and the disregard of the agencies charged to protect them that it is hard for an everyday person to believe that a better, cleaner, healthier future is possible.
Two low-income areas, Ennore and Manali in north Chennai, house the the two main industrial clusters in the city. The three thermal power plants located in Ennore and a number of petrochemical industries situated in Manali are the major contributors to deteriorating air quality in Chennai city due to their ash ponds and petro-chemical emissions. Kamarajar Port Limited and Chennai Port Trust are located on the eastern coast of the city and are the city’s coal and cargo shipping hubs, and heavy vehicle movement to and from the ports and industries also contributes significantly to pollution levels in this area. Chennai’s industrial clusters also contribute to global warming. These fossil fuel based industries create unhealthy air, and contribute to the increase of global temperatures.
All polluting industries are centred in marginalised communities, whose consent is often not considered, and when these people have voiced their concerns, they have been ignored. While this could be a major setback to the work in the areas, it is the lack of faith in government and regulatory agencies this breeds, and lack of hope that the situation will change that is the bigger challenge. Decision makers and public agencies have a responsibility to protect these communities, clean up the air, and unmask our city.
End The Discrimination; Declare Ennore Manali Kattupalli Cluster Critically Polluted
Ask the Minister of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change to declare Ennore a Critically Polluted Area, impose a moratorium on expansion of industries, enforce the use of international technologies to control emissions in existing industries, and regularly monitor the air quality of the area in collaboration with the local community.