The YCAN team conducted an Air Quality Perception Survey in Delhi, in April 2017.
A public perception survey is an opinion poll that seeks to gather and analyse the opinions held by a population regarding a given issue – in this case, air pollution.
YCAN sought to conduct this survey with the aim of making conversations regarding air pollution and air quality more accessible to the general public, and to lead a collaborative change by actively involving the citizens of Delhi. YCAN worked closely with CAA India to learn about air pollution issues, devise the survey and methodology, implement the survey and then to analyse the data.
50 YCAN members worked diligently to conduct the survey across 1500 respondents in 15 locations in Delhi. These locations were identified by YCAN members as major pollution sources – many of them having experienced it first-hand in their own neighborhoods. The respondents were chosen randomly and across demographic markers of gender, occupation and age.
The surveys allowed YCAN members to glean some valuable insights about the level of awareness amongst the general public about issues relating to air pollution. About 55.63% of the respondents believed that air pollution was the most important cause of concern for the city, as opposed to water, waste and other kinds of pollution. This was indicative of a steady realization amongst the citizens about the emergence of air pollution as a major issue for Delhi. Moreover, when asked about the effect of pollution on the quality of life, more than 50% of the respondents mentioned health effects such as breathlessness, increase in respiratory disorders and the desire to move out of the city due to general discomfort.
An important point that emerged from this survey was that a large proportion of the sample (73.8%) were unaware that they had access to air quality data. Hence, awareness building and making air quality data more accessible needed to be further worked into- YCAN is already working on this through its activities and apps like VAYU. On a positive note, respondents were able to identify both large-scale and individual-level initiatives to curb the air pollution issue. At an individual level, respondents highlighted that they would be willing to use public transport, carpool, and plant more trees as a beginning to curb air pollution.
The perception survey was a part of CAA India’s efforts to increase outreach for action on air pollution in Indian cities. It revealed that there is a general acceptance of the fact that collaborative efforts between the government, civil society, industry and citizenry is needed to make cities cleaner and more livable. YCAN aims to achieve this by spreading its network across multiple cities.
Perception Surveys -
Perception Surveys were organized by YCAN in three more cities – Nagpur, Agra and Gandhinagar. The Gandhinagar chapter of YCAN started with a total of 8 volunteers who surveyed the managers of Public Cycle Rental Stands in Gandhinagar about the preferences of people for the usage of cycles as a mode of transportation. The aim of this perception survey was to understand the awareness of air pollution and basic measures being taken by the citizenry.
YCAN also conducted other activities like an art competition for the volunteers. Their works were exhibited across the Gujarat Forensic Science University campus. Following this, a large-scale perception survey was conducted on September 2, 2018 to assess the common populace’s understanding regarding the dire issue of air pollution and poor air quality.
R.K. Puram is one of 13 air pollution hotspots identified by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC). The hotspot is located at the school Kendriya Vidyalaya R.K. Puram Sector 2. A structured perception survey was conducted to weigh in on the community’s understanding and outlook of the air quality in the hotspots. Youth for Clean Air Network (YCAN) volunteers have been trained by Clean Air Asia to conduct perception surveys to support the analysis of the hotspots. The perception survey for the R.K. Puram hotspot was successfully completed.