AHMEDABAD, INDIA – Indian state and city government officials, along with experts from international organizations, civil society and academia partners shared plans to further air pollution protections today at the “Role of Cities in Addressing Air Pollution to Protect Public Health,” workshop held inAhmedabad.
The workshop, organized by NRDC and Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar with the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology was designed 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 action plans.
Bijalben Patel, Hon’ble Mayor of Ahmedabad, released an update of the Ahmedabad Air Information and Response (AIR) Planat the workshop along with an issue brief on strategies for developing effective health risk communication and a set of information, education and communication materials on air pollution.
“The AIR plan focuses on key areas like health risk communication, increased preparedness, information sharing, activities for vulnerable population and long-term actions. As part of this initiative, we have launched a unique School Flags Program that is working with around 90 schools across the city helping build awareness of hundreds of school children,” said the Hon’ble Mayor of Ahmedabad.
She added, “We are also taking practical actions to help improve the air quality. The AMC is working on adopting clean energy solutions, better waste management practices, and electric vehicles.”
“We are already partnering with Ahmedabad in a big way in to understand and improve the air quality of Ahmedabad with three days advance forecast, so that preventive measures can be taken,” said Dr. Gufran Beig, SAFAR Project Director, Indian Institute of Meteorology, Pune. “We need to get into the second step connecting health to action on the ground and the current effort is an appropriate step in that direction.”
The workshop provided a platform for exchange of knowledge between a diverse set of stakeholders from across the country such as national, state and city government officials, public health experts, medical practitioners, air quality monitoring and control specialists, communication experts, and researchers. The workshop also had international experts from the United States and China.
“Given the severity of India’s air pollution crisis, it is critical that government agencies at all levels work together to improve air quality,” said Anjali Jaiswal, director of NRDC’s India Program. “Now is the time to ramp up actions and solutions on the ground to make a difference.”
Air pollution has serious health implications. More than 90% of the world’s children breathe toxic air every day globally, and the situation is even worse in developing and low-income countries.
Dr. Subrat Mukherjee, Member Secretary, West Bengal Pollution Control Board said, “Working towards ensuring good air quality in our state and key cities is our priority. Air pollution is a complex challenge and we must engage with multiple stakeholders on this issue. We are happy to have shared our experiences and learned from other cities, states and experts at this workshop.”
“Air pollution is a serious public health challenge. We must work towards protection of people’s health by reducing their exposure to air pollution. The Ahmedabad AIR plan presents a model for other cities to develop effective health risk communication strategies,” said Dr. Dileep Mavalankar, Director of the Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar.
- The Ahmedabad Air Information and Response Plan is here.
- The link to an issue brief documenting the scientific approach to develop air pollution health-risk communicationis here and the public outreach IEC materials here.
- The link to the published peer-reviewed journal article Development of Ahmedabad’s Air Information and Response (AIR) Plan to Protect Public Health is here.
- NRDC’s India Initiative Director Anjali Jaiswal and Vijay Limaye, Science Fellow have written about Ahmedabad’s 2018 update to the air pollution strategy here.
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