Media Workshop on Air Quality Reporting held in Pune

The workshop was held on 8th June 2022 at Patrakar Bhavan. The workshop Acknowledging that  a society can demand for clean air only with correct information and awareness, and the important role that media plays to bridge the existing gap, Parisar, Asar and Pune Union of Working Journalists (PUWJ)  jointly organised a capacity building workshop on reporting on air quality, primarily for the regional media houses in the city.

The workshop was designed to introduce basic concepts about air pollution as an urban issue, and how it translates as an issue in Pune. It covered a range of aspects of air quality by experts. Dr Pratima Singh (Senior Researcher, CSTEP) spoke about the basic concepts of air pollution, Dr Gufran Beig (Ex IITM Director) explained how air pollution data can be understodd and interpreted, Ranjit Gadgil (Programme Director, Parisar) spoke about air pollution in Pune and Dr Swapnil Kulkarni (Pulmonologist and Director, Birth and Breath Clinics) spoke about the health impacts of air pollution.

It was followed by a panel discussion with the MPCB  Sub-regional officer Nitin Shinde, Dr Gufran Beig, Dr Pratima Singh, and Ronak Sutaria, CEO of Respirer Living Sciences as the panelists. There were rounds of questions on the importance of monitoring the air quality, understanding its different interpretations while reporting, and the need to build awareness not just in citizens but also decision makers and officials. 

The reporters clarified their doubts regarding various details with all the panelists and the speakers. Questions asked included the relevance of smog towers to reduce air pollution, carbon neutral lifestyle, awareness levels in citizens and officials about air pollution and so on. Journalists also sought clarity on these different reports where the country is ranked 'x' in the world and how to make sense of these findings. 

A resource folder with relevant documents like government resolutions, air action plans, reports, films, and  terminologies linked to air quality was shared with the participants. They also took back a press release related to the letter that Parisar along with a few other members of the PMC appointed Task Force for outreach on air quality had written to the State Environment Minister Aditya Thackeray on the diversion of the 15th Finance Commission funds by PMC. 

The workshop was attended by 41 journalists in all, including reporters, desk staff and one senior editor. There was representation from the Marathi as well as English media houses including Sakal, Lokmat, Pudhari, Loksatta, Maharashtra Times, Hindustan Times, Daily Punyanagari, Sakal Agrowan, and Gavkari to name a few.