It is a fact that people who spend more time outdoors are more vulnerable to the effects of air pollution. One such category of people who spend a lot of their time outdoors are the country's police folk.

Flower pot and an N95 mask kept on the police reception deskGreetings from Greenpeace India

With an intention to raise air pollution awareness among the Delhi police, a group of Greenpeace India's volunteers visited Malviya Nagar and Sarojini Nagar police stations. In spite of the volunteers' busy schedule with work and college, they were more than delighted to take responsibilities upon their shoulders. While one took charge of the activity, some became mobilizers, some others got down to creative content developing and more.

Volunteers and activists getting ready to go to the police stationVolunteers gathered together

We gathered together on a sunny Sunday February morning for the activity briefing and set out to our first location. What happened next at the Malviya Nagar police station was quite overwhelming!

The Sub Inspector at the station was quite surprised when he heard that Greenpeace volunteers had come around to appreciate and thank their sacrifice and service to the nation. Later into the day, even the Station House Officer (SHO-the big boss of the police station)  invited us into his room. He had our faces beam with smiles when he commended our efforts on raising awareness for a Clean Air Nation and agreed to acknowledge the issue.

Meeting with the police officers at the police station
A group picture with the inspectors

A meeting that we had originally planned to wrap up in less than 15 minutes, turned out to be an -almost-1-hour friendly interaction, by the end of which we had also distributed N95 masks at the police station. The officers agreed on the intensity of the problem and were ready to even take up plantation in premises.

It was time to move to our next location.

At first glance, the SHO at the Sarojini Nagar police station, our next stop, thought we had arrived to register a complaint and so asked us to present our case in exactly 5mins. When he figured that we had come for reasons different than what he had expected, he took about 30 minutes off of his schedule to speak to us on the pressing air pollution crisis plaguing India.
He appreciated our work and even advised us to approach the Prime Minister of India. He also laid an offer to contact him personally and arrange for an activity at the Sarojini Nagar police station.

Voluteers pose for a group pic with Masks
A group picture with N95 masks on

One of the volunteers said ‘this interaction has completely changed my perception of police always being rude.” Another volunteer said -”a Sunday well spent.” All in all it was an eventful day with much discussion around vital insights and practical suggestions.

Ali Abbas is an Actions Campaigner at Greenpeace India