The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and German environment agency UBA, on February 13, 2019, exchanged a joint declaration for the implementation of India’s National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), at the Third Indo-German Environment Forum on ‘Clean Air, Greener Economy’, held in New Delhi. Delivering the keynote address at the event, union minister for environment, forest and climate change Harsh Vardhan, said the bilateral cooperation with Germany would focus on climate change adaptation, marine litter, forestry and sustainable development goals (SDG).
“Germany is amongst India’s most important partners both, bilaterally and in the global context,” he said, while inaugurating the forum. The minister said India’s development trajectory focussed on five Ps – People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership. “The bilateral cooperation in future should focus on marine litter, SDG and NDC implementation, climate change adaptation and forestry,” he added.
CPCB member-secretary Prashant Gargava said India’s two recent initiatives had been game-changers in combating air pollution. “One was in 2010, when, for the first time, a comprehensive study was taken up in six cities, through which we started understanding the sources which are contributing to pollution and why the problem is of particulate matter. The second, equally important initiative, was the air quality index (AQI), launched in 2015 and that ensured that public participation grew more and more,” Gargava said.
During the event, the Federal Environment Minister from Germany, Svenja Schulze, said progress and implementation of Agenda 2030 of the UN was slow and the window of opportunity for a low-carbon economy was dwindling. “A lot has been achieved in recent years but the global carbon emission is still rising. The 2030 Agenda of the UN needs to be taken seriously by the government. The forum needs to build on experience exchange and cooperation will be strengthened in the areas of marine litter, waste to energy, biodiversity, waste and water,” she said.
Centre’s National Clean Air Programme gets support from TERI and Bloomberg Philanthropies
In a major boost for the National Clean Air Programme, the government has announced that it will collaborate with The Energy and Resources Institute and Bloomberg Philanthropies, which will offer technical assistance on air quality issues
February 13, 2019: The Environment Ministry, on February 12, 2019, found supporters in international organisation Bloomberg Philanthropies and Delhi-based think-tank The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), on resolving air quality issues under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). An initiative launched at the World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS), organised by TERI, would help mitigate air pollution – both at the national level and in a group of Indian cities – a press note issued by TERI said.
The government has collaborated with the TERI, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, aiming to bring together research and civil society organisations, to offer technical assistance on air quality issues in support of the NCAP. “The joint project will help address and mitigate air pollution, both, at the national level and in 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,” the statement said. It added that the initiative would 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.
Speaking at the event, CK Mishra, secretary at the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, 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 the government, multiple stakeholders and citizens to address this.” Michael R Bloomberg, UN special envoy for climate action and founder of the Bloomberg Philanthropies, said, “Air pollution is one of the biggest global problems of our times. 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.”
The initiative will work in tandem with the NCAP that was launched in January 2019, with the goal of reducing particulate matters by 20-30 per cent by 2024 from 2017. Lauding the initiative, TERI director-general Ajay Mathur said, “Region-specific actions are needed and this initiative brings together the interested groups to accelerate these actions.” Bloomberg Philanthropies works in 480 cities in more than 120 countries around the world, in areas including arts, education, environment and public health, the press note said.