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Pollution: Companies take steps to protect employee health

New Delhi, November 9, 2023 – As air pollution levels rise in Indian cities ahead of Diwali, companies are taking steps to protect the health of their employees.

Some companies are adopting a flexible work arrangement, allowing employees to work from home until air quality improves. Others are offering incentives to employees who purchase green technology, such as electric vehicles and solar cookers.

For example, NTPC is offering employees an advance to purchase air purifiers, EV chargers, solar thermal water heaters, and solar cookers. The company is also providing a convenience advance at discounted rates for employees who purchase EVs.

Bluesmart, an EV ride-sharing company based in Gurugram, is offering employees discounted rates to use its services. The company says that companies in the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) are increasingly interested in using alternative modes of transportation that run on clean energy. Bluesmart says that companies are also accepting its offer of business-to-business deals.

“In the broader public interest, we are increasing our partnerships with policymakers and civil society,” said Aniruddha Arun, co-founder and chief operating officer of Bluesmart.

Shailesh Chandra, managing director of Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles and Tata Motors Electric Mobility, said that people are increasingly looking at electric vehicles as an option as the air pollution crisis deepens. Electric vehicles do not emit harmful gases.

“The need for immediate use of electric vehicles has increased in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, and many other cities due to poor air quality,” Chandra said.

Companies are also recognizing that air pollution is starting to affect productivity.

“Climate change and bad weather also have a negative impact on employee productivity,” said MVP Kumar, geo head of operations, work dynamics (West Asia) at JLL.

Kumar said that air pollution is difficult to predict, so his company is taking steps to protect the safety, health, and productivity of its employees.

The real estate company is installing air ducts in its offices and using UV lamps to keep microorganisms at bay. It has also installed air filters and sensors to monitor and improve air quality.

PepsiCo India and Hindustan Unilever, which manufacture soft drinks and consumer goods, are also installing air purifiers in their offices. These companies are allowing employees to work from home or the office as needed in the current challenging conditions.

Tata Motors is asking employees to come to the office only two days a week. Swiggy, a food delivery company, says it will distribute masks to its employees in Delhi-NCR. The company’s spokesperson said it is advising employees to be mindful of their health and wear masks.

These are just a few examples of how companies are taking steps to protect the health of their employees in the face of rising air pollution.

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