At the World Sustainable Development Summit 2019 (WSDS 2019) in New Delhi, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), and the Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation launched a new initiative on air quality in collaboration with the Indian Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
The initiative will bring together research and civil society organizations to offer technical assistance on air quality issues in support of India’s National Clean Air Program and reiterates the recognition of the major challenges presented by air pollution in India and across the world, with detrimental impacts on health, quality of life and economic productivity. More than three-quarters of Indian cities do not meet the country’s air pollution standards.
The joint project will help address and mitigate air pollution, both at the national level and with a group of Indian cities, by working to develop better understanding and awareness of the sources of air pollution through emissions inventories and source apportionment studies; formulate policy recommendations and action plans to address air pollution on the basis of data, evidence and consultations; and increase capacities of key stakeholders to address the challenge through exchange of experiences and good practices.
“Air pollution is one of the biggest global problems of our times,” said Michael R Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “India has the unique opportunity to leapfrog and follow a sustainable development pathway, demonstrating solutions to the air pollution challenge that can have relevance all over the world.”
“We are delighted to be working with Bloomberg Philanthropies, TERI and other partners on the National Clean Air Program,” said CK Mishra, Secretary at the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. “Air pollution is a difficult and multi-dimensional challenge and we need to work together across government, multiple stakeholders and citizens to address this.”
The initiative will work in tandem with the recently launched National Clean Air Program (NCAP), the first overarching strategic national policy framework on air quality in India. Launched last month, the program outlines a five-year action plan with the goal of reducing particulate matter by 20-30% by 2024 from 2017 levels.
The project was announced at a session on “Cleaning the Air in India and its Cities” during the World Sustainable Development Summit organized by TERI. “The health and wellbeing of all Indians, not just those in urban India, is being adversely impacted by air pollution,” said Ajay Mathur, Director General of TERI. “Region-specific actions are needed, and this initiative brings together the interested groups to accelerate these actions.”
“Ensuring clean air to breathe for our citizens is one of the defining challenges of our times as we continue our path of development and urbanization,” said Krishan Dhawan, CEO of Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation. “This growing problem can only be reversed through systematic focus on policy implementation, public awareness and coordinated action. Along with our civil society partners, we are pleased to be working with the Bloomberg Philanthropies, who bring their considerable resources and global experience to bear on addressing this serious problem.”
Additional partners for the initiative include: Centre for Energy and Climate Change at ADRI; Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy; and WRI India.