Hollywood actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio has extended support to groups working to raise awareness about the air pollution in Delhi and its damaging effects. Delhi's AQI is expected to again touch severe levels by Thursday, according to forecasts.
The Oscar-winner gave a push to the efforts of the groups with an Instagram post, " Over 1500 citizens gathered in at India Gate, in New Dehli, to demand immediate action on the cities hazardous pollution levels. According to the World Health Organisation, air pollution in India is estimated to kill about 1.5 million people every year; these statistics make air pollution the fifth-largest killer in India."
"People of all ages joined the demonstration, which succeeded to directly trigger action for Indian citizens," DiCaprio wrote, adding, "The Indian Prime Minister's office set up a special panel to address the issue, within a few hours of the protest. The panel is due to report on the issue within two weeks."
Mentioning climate activist group, Extinction Rebellion, the actor listed how government is tackling the problem, adding, "Despite these promises, the air is still unsafe and activists will keep the pressure on until the air pollution reaches safe levels." He also shared the picture of a child at the protest who is holding a placard demanding, 'I want a better future'.
Delhi has been battling debilitating air pollution with people suffering adverse health impact. The AQI had touched 494 on November 3, the most hazardous level since 2016. The second spike came from November 12 to 14 — when schools had to be shut. A thick blanket of smog covered Delhi for several days and people complained of breathlessness and burning sensation before wind blew away pollutants, emphasizing how the Capital was largely defenceless against unfavourable weather conditions that exacerbate the impact of local sources of pollution and farm fires in Punjab and Haryana.
In 1998, DiCaprio established the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) with the purpose of raising awareness about environmental issues. DiCaprio had visited India in 2015, to film a segment for his 2016 documentary film, Beyond the Flood. He had earlier tweeted about the Chennai water crisis in June this year.