Getting the Word Out on Air Pollution and Health
Co-authored by Sayantan Sarkar and Prima Madan of the NRDC India Team
Indian state and city government officials, along with experts from international organizations, civil society, and academia shared plans to further air pollution protections today at the Role of Cities in Addressing Air Pollution to Protect Public Health workshop held in Ahmedabad.
The workshop, organized by NRDC and Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar (IIPH-G) with the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), was organized to catalyze knowledge exchange among cities, identify opportunities for cities to take actions to improve air quality, and foster cooperation among cities, states and central government agencies in implementing air pollution action plans.
2018 AIR Plan Launched
At the workshop, the Mayor of Ahmedabad, Honorable Bijalben Patel, released an update to the city’s groundbreaking Air Information & Response (AIR) Plan, a city-led effort organized around five strategies to help mitigate the significant health risks posed by air pollution. The updated 2018 plan highlights actions taken by the city and local partners over the last year to protect vulnerable groups, identify key pollution sources, and convene an expert working group that is developing policy recommendations for achieving pollution reductions from specific sectors.
New Risk Communication Outreach
To help further inform and protect people about the health risks posed by air pollution, today the AMC also launched a new set of risk communication materials developed along with IIPH-G, IITM, and NRDC. These new information, education, and communication (IEC) materials draw on the considerable scientific evidence about the health harms of air pollution and identify concrete steps that people can take to reduce exposure risks. These IEC materials are being launched in both English and Gujarati to help reach a broader audience.
An Evidence-Driven Approach
Scientific evidence informs both the AIR Plan strategies and IEC efforts, which is why we've also worked with local partners to develop a new issue brief, Getting The Word Out: Health Risk Communications for Ahmedabad’s AIR Plan.
The scientific underpinnings of the AIR Plan development and implementation in Ahmedabad are also the focus of a new peer-reviewed manuscript in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
This research describes the five AIR Plan strategies in detail, and explains how the plan is helping Ahmedabad to better quantify the burden of air pollution in the city, to better inform local citizens about the health risks of air pollution, and to better strategize a policy path forward for achieving cleaner air.
Today's workshop underscores the need for coordinated local, state, and national actions to improve air quality in India. Now is the time to ramp up strategic outreach and policy solutions on the ground to achieve cleaner, healthier air.