Leading from the front for the
most vulnerable communities affected by climate change
Most of us might think of villages as idyllic spots unspoiled by the scourge of air pollution. The reality though is quite different. For various reasons including improper waste disposal, biomass burning, and industrial activity, the problem becomes even more acute in rural areas. 19 year old Hina Saifi from Sisosla Village, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, was driven by the sight of this and also by a general lack of environmental awareness at home to make a difference for the better. She is a strong advocate of on ground activism as a way of changing people’s behaviour. Many of the solutions to India’s air pollution, which disproportionately impacts children and vulnerable communities, are also solutions that can combat climate change – Hina’s work does both. She is associated with the 100% Uttar Pradesh campaign, The Climate Agenda and Meerut-based NGO En Bloc: On the way to humanity.
She works to educate the general public on climate friendly behavior through several mobilization activities such as March for Clean Air, pamphlet distribution, public meetings, door-to-door visits and surveys. Through her work, she campaigns for solar powered solutions to air pollution, like solar pumps or rooftop solar installation for public and community buildings. Her campaigns are one of the many ways the country is achieving its Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs – one of which is to increase the share of India’s energy capacity that comes from non-fossil fuel sources, like solar power, to 40% by 2030. Despite the alarming rise in air pollution in the larger district, she refuses to be deterred. She maintains a strong belief that the youth, along with increased awareness, can lead and win the battle against air pollution and climate change. Hina’s work not only supports the SDG Goal 7 by increasing access to clean and affordable energy solutions, but also benefits the health of her community under SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing.