U.S. embassy launches four-city workshop on combating air pollution in North India

U.S. embassy launches four-city workshop on combating air pollution in North India

Submitted by alvin on Tue, 2016-05-17 16:15 New Delhi: The United States embassy today launched a series of workshops on combating air pollution in North India. Delhi Health Minister Satyender Jain inaugurated the workshops to be held in New Delhi, Chandigarh, Jaipur and Lucknow from May 17 to 26. The workshops organized by the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International, in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, support President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's commitment to develop cooperative efforts to study the effects of air pollution on human health and well-being. The objective of these workshops is to provide a forum to initiate and strengthen collaboration between the U.S. and Indian air quality experts, consider best practices to combat air pollution in North India and build consensus and strategy for follow-on action. About a dozen U.S. policy-makers, world-renowned scientists and industry-sector experts are participating in the workshops, which will include presentations on the health effects of air pollution, impact on industry and their mitigation efforts, and air quality management and policy. The second day will be focused mostly on group discussions and break-out sessions, ending with a panel discussion aimed at developing a workable strategy for tackling air pollution in North India. The U.S. embassy Charge d'Affaires, Michael P. Pelletier, opened the proceedings in New Delhi today. Speaking on the occasion, Pelletier said that he was honored to inaugurate the workshops in northern India. "This is a wonderful opportunity to discuss challenges, propose solutions, and build a network for future engagement. I am proud that we are taking action today and I look forward to seeing these workshops unfold over the upcoming days," he added. Pelletier said improved monitoring helps urban planners better understand the sources of air pollution, where the hot spots of especially bad air are centered, and what steps would yield the greatest benefits in the most economically efficient way. "It also helps health professionals prepare for extreme air pollution events, and save lives. The sources of the most deadly type of particulate matter are many: vehicular emissions, coal-fired power plants, household fires for cooking, heating, and lighting, biomass burning from nearby agricultural areas, outdoor fires in the city for heat in the winter by those living outside, dust from building sites, etc.," said Pelletier. "Source apportionment studies would help disaggregate the problem into its constituent parts, for example providing a better understanding of how accelerating the transition to cleaner fuels, particularly for trucks and other heavy duty vehicles, would improve the air in India's cities," he added. The U.S. embassy Charge d'Affaires further said the bottom line is that a cleaner future is well within our reach. "The technology to identify the sources of the worst pollution exists, as are the useful experiences and lessons learned of cities around the world that have confronted similar problems in the past and have found ways to clean the air, grow their economies, and improve the lives and health of their citizens," he added. Stating the Government of India and the Delhi Government are already taking action, Pelletier commended their efforts to prepone the introduction of better fuel quality standards from 2024 to 2020. "I admire Delhiites efforts to participate in the odd-even schemes and I am proud that our team at the American Embassy took measures to voluntarily comply with the directive. And I am excited to see how the private sector can develop technologies to help us commute more efficiently," he added. The workshop series ends with a special closing ceremony in Lucknow on May 26. (ANI)