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Hi there !
My name is Dasarathi.
Everyone just calls me Das.
I live in Bangalore.
This is a small story about me.
By the end of the story, it'll
also be about you.
The story started 14 years ago, in 1999
My daughter, Amala, was 4 years old.
She used to have frequent bouts of
coughing and wheezing. Generally
relieved by an inhaler, but my wife
and I frequently had to rush her to a
nearby clinic for nebulization, usually
Common story, right ?
A lot of children have this problem.
My story, now - 2014
For 3 years I had a whole basket of bad health issues -
persistent sore throat, snoring, poor sleep at night,
hypertension, acidity. Doctors were clueless about the
cause, I ate tabs for the hypertension and lived with the
Recently, 3 times in as many weeks, I got a bad cough
And then, one fine day
One day I coughed into the wash basin and saw this.
Grey phlegm, when the normal colour is a pale yellow.
I was horrified, then realized that the grey was from air
pollution, went out and bought a pollution mask.
I started using a mask when cycling...
After 3 days of use, this is what my mask looked like.
I was truly horrified when I saw what the mask had filtered
After a week the cough and phlegm disappeared, and
magically the whole basket of health issues vanished, my
That's Particulate matter (PM), microscopic
liquid and solid particles suspended in air,
created from automobile exhaust gases.
Larger particles can get into the lungs and
stay there. Smaller particles go deeper, into
The PM was destroying my lungs, my
sleep, and my heart.
What WAS that grey stuff in my lungs ?
More about PM: http://www.baaqmd.gov/Divisions/Planning-and-Research/Particulate-Matter.aspx
Why is PM affecting me so badly?
Because my vehicle has been a bicycle for the past 14
So what ?
A cyclist's metabolic rate is 4 times
more than that of a car or bike driver.
I breathe in 4 times more air per
minute, and hence 4 times more
pollutants. The same air quality
affects me 4 times more.
That's YOUR problem ! Who asked you to
No, it's not just my problem !
My daughter had the same problem at age 4, and she
didn't even know how to cycle!
Every child has exactly the same problem as me.
What's on my mask is in their lungs.
Metabolism in children – WHO manual:
Children have a high metabolism
because it is required for growth,
and because they are very active.
They breathe in 3-4 times more air
than adults, relative to their body
PM kills children !
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- World Health Organization
Health effects of particulate matter - WHO, EPA
The effects of PM on children
The effects when they are children, and
as they grow into adults
- Infant mortality
- Low birth weight
- Chronic respiratory diseases, like asthma
- Chronically reduced lung growth rate
- Impaired long term lung function
- Premature death related to heart disease
- Heart attacks and strokes
WHO report - air pollution causes cancer: http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/iarcnews/pdf/pr221_E.pdf
How much PM are our children breathing
Rise of air pollution in Bangalore
over the past decade was 2nd
highest in the world, among 189
In Bangalore, particulate matter on busy roads
is 6 times the WHO limit.
And who's generating the PM ?
Fuel consumption, gm. / passenger / km.
The more fuel you use, the more PM you generate.
People who use cars and 2-wheelers are the biggest culprits.
You're killing your child !
this different from this ?
This is quick This is slow
It's decision making time !
When do you plan
killing your child ?
Do you want to stop killing your child ?
Get rid of the weapon - your car or bike.
Switch to sustainable transport - walk, cycle or
use public transport – bus, train, auto, taxi.
If you want to stop
killing your child
You can come up with a million excuses,
Your possible excuses
It's impossible to walk – the footpaths are bad.
Buses are too slow and inconvenient.
Cycling is unsafe, and I'm not fit enough.
My 'status' does not allow me to take a bus or cycle.
And your child ?
Walks or cycles in the neighbourhood
Takes a bus to school
Uses sustainable transport, but is the victim of your
addiction to your automobile.
Which of your excuses is
big enough to kill your child ?
How did I stop killing MY child ?
14 years ago, I realized that my own
automobile was contributing to the
pollution that was killing my child.
Since then, I cycle, walk or use public
transport to move around. I use a car
only occasionally. I'm 54 now.
Amala is now 18, uses public transport or walks,
does not want to use a car or 2-wheeler even
though she is legally allowed to.
One thing you MUST realize !
You have to do whatever is in your power, to stop
killing your child, and stop others killing your child.
And you have to do this yourself.
Nobody – not the government, not any NGO, is going
to do this on your behalf, while you sit at home and
If you do not want to do anything about this, get
your answer ready, for when your child asks you
Stop killing your child !
Get in touch with me at : firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to see what YOU can do