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The World walks together!
The Paris agreement, formally known as the Conference of Parties (CoP) protocol on combating climate change. All you need to know GO!

Recycling Monster!
The Recycling Monster is Calcutta is a petite and soft-spoken young woman! GO!

Walking Green talk!
Fledgling green organisation, Green Legion is founded by a group of Kolkata based womenGO!

Air Quality Index
An air quality index (AQI) is a number used by government agencies to communicate to the public how polluted the air currently is or how polluted it is forecast to become.

As the AQI increases, an increasingly large percentage of the population is likely to experience increasingly severe adverse health effects. Different countries have their own air quality indices, corresponding to different national air quality standards.

Some of these are the Air Quality Health Index (Canada), the Air Pollution Index (Malaysia), and the Pollutant Standards Index (Singapore).

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Raul Aaron David, Writer
Being the change the world needs.
Seeing clean air ahead
Kolkata based Lifetree, which sells personal air filter masks for healthy and safe for breathing, has recently embarked on a innovative new journey to get the public involved in the air betterment process...

Kolkata - Lifetree is a company which works for a social purpose - they claim to have the sole aim of make the air in Kolkata healthier and less polluted for everybody. They were among the first organisation in Kolkata to sell individually packaged face masks to protect you from pollution. Earlier, to get your hands on similar masks, you would need to buy them in bulk - other companies packaged them for industrial use only. While it is commendable our companies, like those in the West, are paying attention to employee health, (making filter masks mandatory amongst their workers who would work in plants where they would be exposed to dangerous fumes,) these masks are equally needed by every citiizen travelling through the city, especially in Winter pollution conditions. Lifetree made it possible for you to buy a single mask from your local chemist.

Lifetree has the motto of “Breathing Clean Air” and their job has become even more challenging with India overtaking China in the last 6 months as the most polluted country in the world. Over a 1000 people die each day in our country due to sicknesses and diseases that can be traced back to air pollutants. When asked about the prime reason as to why air pollution is so rampant in these parts, Lifetree's Andrew Atkins (interning from the UK!) said that this is partly due to ignorance and negligence, as well as the inability to access viable means of pollution control.

Timelapse picture shows the
same spot on the Calcutta
Maidan at the same time
of the day during Summer
and the more polluted
winter months.
For example, farmers around Delhi would burn their fields instead of turning over the soil because the latter is easier and less expensive than getting a tractor. This happens all around Delhi and coupled with the automobile and factory exhausts, makes the air in Delhi and nearby parts extremely unhealthy.

Andrew says that their recent idea is to give the power to the people. What they mean to do is to raise awareness amongst everyone from the educated to the lesser-educated classes about how to change some of our daily habits to more environmentally friendly ones. And they are trying to innovate on new creative ways about how to do it - to make the people aware about the condition of the air around them - in realtime - and get them talking about it.

To achieve this, Lifetree plans to set up air quality detectors in different neighbourhoods that will measure air quality in realtime, displaying it on an attached LED screen. They want the localresidents to involve and host these on the outer wall of their home/balconies, etc. They feel this will cause a buzz and get the public interested and even enthusiastic in knowing the air quality. As more people join the conversation, they hope a demand will be created to do someting positive to protect their immediate families at least, with an air purification device in the home and better habits outside. They also hope to arm fellow environmentalists with up to date information about the air quality in the different parts of the city so that these people/NGOs can make the others around them aware of the state of the air in a particular area and actively take steps to control the pollution.

Despite set up as a for-profit company, Lifetree and their team seems to have a genuine wish that everyone gets to make our home city a healthier place and fight the menace of air pollution. That is refreshing in a city where even NGOs take up only projects that are deemed "worthwhile" - profitable. If you wish to get in touch with Lifetree, send them a mail at hello@lifetree.co.in

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