“Kya aapne Air Pollution Index Board check kiya? Arre itna pollution to 10 cigarette ke barabar harmful hota hai (Have you checked the Air Pollution Index board? The pollution here amounts to smoking atleast 10 cigarettes)”, I explained while performing a street play in front of the crowd. I was wondering if the people in the crowd would understand my conversant usage of `Hinglish’, a popular lingua franca of India. Air pollution needs to be communicated to everyone. 

On a Sunday afternoon when the rest of the world was enjoying their holiday, 12 Greenpeace volunteers gathered in the Bandstand garden with a common will to raise awareness on Air Pollution in India.

We all know about the alarming rate of pollution in Delhi. But what about the other parts of the country? Agreed, the pollution is not worst in Mumbai but the general public has a right to know the level of pollutants in the air. According to the statistics by Greenpeace - 35% of school-going children in india suffer from poor lung health. Children are most vulnerable. We need urgent action, I believe.

We as volunteers of Greenpeace came together to raise awareness about the problem and demand our rights to know about the Air Quality we breathe.

However, we were not sure about our tactic. And then we found our medium of communication - a street play! We decided to demonstrate a short street play to address the crowd about their fundamental right to learn about Air Pollution in their city.

28 January 2016

Gunjan Shah at a Clean Air Nation activity


Our team consisted of great members such as the amazing girl gang, dedicated fundraising team, a greenpeace intern as well as myself. We started off with a small briefing session about the campaign and delegated roles to everyone in the street play.

Our Street play was about a group were except 2 people wearing mask, rest all fainted due to Toxic air. The surviving guys discuss about the raising concern of Air pollution and about Article 21.

Practising is very important, especially on a significant issue like this and therefore we rehearsed at least 10 times before we actually began the street play. Nonetheless, confusion, clashes, forgetting dialogs, chaos, public stares and laughter was also the fun part of the rehearsal.

Readied for our mass awareness plan, we headed towards the other part of Bandstand near the Amphitheater, from where it actually starts. Our team member Nehl donned her favorite Sheru tiger mascot costume. We thought she looked adorable and not scary.

The crowd was not too large and it definitely did not deter our zeal and enthusiasm. We immediately got into action and performed the street play with much vigor and grace. Post that, we were divided into two teams, the first was responsible for coordinating with the general public, explaining them about the campaign while the second team took the duty of holding banners.

We performed the same skit at least three times with fair amount of gaps, so as to have maximum reach. We also got press coverage from the DNA. After our campaign we did a small de-briefing session, talking about what we liked and what could have been better.

Post the event, we were happy and satisfied and took a pleasant walk till Bandra station.


Gunjan Shah is a Volunteer with Greenpeace India