Women construction workers fear job loss, suffer silently amidst growing pollution

A local NGO talks to nearly 400 workers to raise awareness and understand women’s experience regarding air pollution

Image Courtesy:indianwomenblog.org

As many as 94 percent of Delhi’s women construction workers never raised their voice or took any steps to prevent the negative impact of air pollution due to the fear of losing their jobs, revealed a survey conducted as part of the Help Delhi Breathe campaign.

A report from syndicated news said that Purpose India and Mahila Housing Trust (MHT) jointly executed a project involving 390 women construction workers from Bakkarwala, Gokulpuri and Sawda Ghevra. The survey was conducted from August 2021 to April 2022 to mobilise and enable women and help them understand the impact of air pollution. The goal was to interact with their women about their and their children’s health, build knowledge and so pressure local governments to support relevant policy and action.

Sample households were characterized by respondents majorly in the 36 years and above age-groups. Most of them consisted of illiterate or low educational-level people, predominantly from Scheduled Castes, followed by OBC. As many as 87 percent of them were married.

Around 85 percent of the women agreed that air pollution has a negative impact on human health and 75 percent said they feel sick or uncomfortable when the air quality is bad. More than three-fourth of respondents believed that working at construction sites is harmful for their health.

Further, 76 percent of the women were aware of air pollution. As for sources, 61 percent women learnt about the phenomenon from television, another 41 percent women learnt about it from their peer group and 45 percent women learnt from school-going children or family members.

“All participants were ignorant about the terms PM 2.5, PM 10 and air quality index,” it said.

“Ninety-four percent women never raised their voice or took any steps to prevent the negative impact of air pollution due to the fear of losing their jobs,” it claimed.

Some women said that preventing air pollution at construction sites is the sole responsibility of contractors, with workers having no liability for the same. Thus, only six percent women took preventive steps such as using masks or dupatta to cover their face, wearing full sleeved clothes, raising concerns at construction sites, sprinkling water on debris, among other things. A whopping 90 percent of the women said the government should improve public transport so that private transport is reduced.


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