Ek Zindagi Aisi Bhi (The Life We Aspire For) – Air Quality

The plot revolves around Sudhir, a young social worker in the city of Varanasi, who marries his love interest, Chutki, after much resistance from their families. Sudhir, being educated and exposed, brings to light many issues that the residents in his neighborhood face. Mahendra, an auto driver with serious lung problems, discovers that he will have to quit his profession because of his weak lungs and is determined to find new solutions to keep his family afloat. Mahendra becomes an early adopter of new technologies and models the changes around him. On the curb, love blossoms between Rupa, Mahendra’s elder daughter, and Ajay, Ramji Guru’s son– a village head. But as the turn of events would have it, Rupa refuses to marry Ajay as his corrupt father plans to expand the factory in the village by enticing people in the name of harmful development. In the end, all different cross-cutting storylines run parallel to each other and culminate in drama. The show aims to build a relationship between environment and prosperity to emotionally capture the audience towards the issue.

“Ek Zindagi Aisi Bhi” (A life we aspire for) is a joint effort by PCI Media, Purpose, CEEDs, and Whistle Blowers to improve air quality by changing people’s practices that result in air pollution, such as burning of plastic waste, in Uttar Pradesh, India.

The radio show aims to communicate necessary knowledge around the issue of air pollution in the region, create accountability among stakeholders for action to improve air quality and change mindset on responsible action for environment or environmental consciousness & management.

It consists of 6 episodes of 30-minutes each including a theme song, a 10-15 minute radio drama, an epilogue, a conversation with listeners, expert advice on the subject, and a call to action. The drama is broadcast throughout Uttar Pradesh, a state in which deteriorating air quality has huge impacts on its residents’ physical, social, mental and economic life.

The program compelled community members to question their daily practices that contribute to air pollution issues in their community. Analysis of responses in listener groups showed that there was a shift in risk perception and acknowledgement of air pollution as a real problem that urgently need action on the part of individuals as well as communities. Inspired by two scenes in episode 4, listener group participants carried out a rally to a municipal office to demand environmental cleanliness, waste management, and remove sources that cause air pollution around them. Scenes from the radio drama were also re-enacted at a local event commemorating International Women’s Day.

Overall the show successfully built awareness that air pollution is real, that it affects everyone, and that there are actions they can take to help improve their environment. Character behaviors led to the audience wanting to learn more about e-rickshaws, discuss the issue of air pollution and the causes and effects, keep their surroundings clean, and get their vehicles checked for pollution.

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