With an aim to address air quality issues at the national scale, Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) joined hands on Tuesday to provide technical assistance to the Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry in implementing the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).
“In this partnership, we are trying to do some of these things which have been listed in the NCAP, both at the national and state level, to help address and mitigate air pollution,” Sumit Sharma, Director, Earth Science and Climate Change, at TERI told IANS.
At the national level, he said, TERI will be developing an “emission inventory database” and a “knowledge park” for the whole country. On the state level, the Institute will work on dealing with air pollution in Gujarat’s Surat and Bihar’s Patna to identify sources of pollution.
“As of now, there is no database of emission of air pollution. Hence, we have decided to develop a database and hand it over to the Ministry for the tracking of emissions over the next few decades,” Sharma said.
TERI and Bloomberg will also develop a “knowledge network”.
“This means two things: one, an online repository of different types of material which is there on the internet on air quality issues in India and second, it will give you a network of sectoral experts which deal with air quality issues,” he said adding that under the project, they will frequently convene meetings of these experts to come up with a solution to air pollution.
The project to work with the Ministry was announced at a session on ‘Cleaning the Air in India and its Cities’ during the ongoing World Sustainable Development Summit organized by TERI at the India Habitat Centre.
The initiative will work in tandem with the recently-launched 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 per cent by 2024, keeping 2017 as the base level.
At the state level, Sharma said TERI, after identifying sources of air pollution in Surat and Patna, will draft an air quality management plan for control of pollution in these cities.
“The motive behind selecting Surat and Patna was actually to demonstrate that if it works in two cities then it can be easily replicated in other cities too,” he said.
Asked why these two particular cities were chosen, Sharma explained: “We wanted to choose cities which had high air pollution. Also, we wanted one of them to be near Indo-Gangetic plains and the other one which is affected by industrial pollution. Patna is a typical city, with Indo-Gangetic plain, biomass burning and Surat is a city with industrial pollution.”
At the event, Environment, Forest and Climate Change Secretary C.K. Mishra said: “We are delighted to be working with Bloomberg Philanthropies, TERI and other partners on the National Clean Air Programme. Air pollution is a difficult and multi-dimensional challenge and we need to work together across government, multiple stakeholders and citizens to address this.”