The greatest and most successful projects – no matter when they are founded – derive from, and are driven, by a collective passion to make things better. This could not be truer of eTukTuk and the eTukTuk team, whose involvement in this unique ecosystem stems largely from their own personal experiences and will to do more to promote a cleaner and fairer future.
Mohit Ahuja – Head of Social Media at eTukTuk knows only too well about the effects of air pollution – the same effects that are currently choking countries around the globe. He recently shared a little of his story with Lauren Meek – Head of Content at eTukTuk, to explain why this type of solution means so much to him.
Lauren: Tell us a bit about where you were born.
Mohit: I was born in Uttar Pradesh; a state with a total population of 228 million located in the northern part of India. I’ve spent the majority of my life (29 years) in major metro cities in India, using both private and public transportation to commute. While we were taught about the adverse effects of pollution in my school, I never took it seriously and always took it for granted that maybe it was the same across the globe and that we are no different in terms of feeling its impact. This is what I thought – until very recently.
Lauren: What changed your mind about your situation?
Mohit: Two events really changed my perception towards pollution:
1. I’ve been playing football since I was a little kid and in my recent travels to Switzerland, I could feel that I wasn’t getting tired as fast as I used to back home. My lungs felt lighter and the air felt much cleaner. It actually made me more aware of what we face back home and the kind of conditions we live in. Since my trip, I have found it hard to understand how more people are not doing more to bring about a radical change to something which is evidently seriously affecting us. The AQI numbers were 200 times worse than what I faced back in Switzerland. This has totally shocked me.
2. One of my friends who’s been an asthma patient for over a decade suffered severe and abrupt nosebleeds to such an extent that we had to get him admitted to a hospital. After multiple diagnoses and tests, the doctor told us that it’s pretty common around this time of the year – the time right after Diwali when the air quality gets from bad to worse due to nationwide burning of crackers. This evidently causes inflammation in the nasal tract. It was again a shocking revelation that the air we so badly need to live has reached levels which are highly concerning.
Lauren: Have you taken any steps to improve air quality in your home?
Mohit: During the pandemic, I was the first one to suggest we get an air purifier for all our rooms because now it’s subconsciously ingrained in my head that the air we breathe is not clean. I can’t even imagine the plight of the families who can’t afford these expensive devices yet have to live in densely populated and polluted regions. The fact that these people don’t even contribute much to the overall pollution yet are one of the primary targets of these adverse effects, is astounding and totally unacceptable.
Lauren: Have you taken any other steps to help reduce air pollution? What can people do today?
Mohit: Since I awakened to this realisation, I’ve become more receptive to carpooling and the use of public transportation to commute. I also regularly consider alternative and sustainable methods to reduce my own carbon footprint. I’m nowhere close to making a substantial impact, but I hope my personal experiences can inspire others to take the necessary steps. True change can only be brought about in collaboration, but it starts with small steps.
I think the eTukTuk network is really unique. I know nothing like it on the planet. Drivers – who are currently on low incomes – will be able to afford an eTukTuk so they can make the switch to electric sooner rather than later. Not only that, but the cost of running the vehicle will mean that they are paying out very little when compared with the internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles they currently drive.
The biggest difference will be the zero tailpipe emissions of the eTukTuk. Without the CO2, entire communities will be able to breathe more cleanly than before. Just imagine the difference in Colombo, where there are 1.2 million TukTuks.
This unique network will have life-changing effects on everyone. Not only that, but I am excited to see the overall impact to people as this becomes more widely accessible in Sri Lanka and beyond.
To chat more to Mohit about his experiences, you can join our Telegram chat at https://t.me/etuktuk.