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Air Pollution

Delhi Smog: Experts Urge Regional Cooperation To Combat Air Pollution

A study conducted by experts has identified rural sources such as crop burning, wood stoves, and power plants as major contributors to Delhi smog

Delhi Smog: Experts Urge Regional Cooperation To Combat Air Pollution
Experts recommend the creation of regional air quality plans similar to successful models in Mexico City and Los Angeles, to combat air pollution in Delhi

New Delhi: Urban-centric measures currently employed to combat air pollution overlook rural sources, according to experts, who recommend the creation of regional air quality plans, inspired by successful models in Mexico City and Los Angeles. A collaborative effort between the University of Surrey, England and Delhi’s regional government officials has identified rural sources such as crop burning, wood stoves, and power plants as major contributors to urban smog.

Professor Prashant Kumar, Director of the Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) at the University of Surrey, emphasised that air pollution transcends city boundaries, necessitating a regional approach.

A study by Mr Kumar and experts in Delhi stated that current urban-centric measures, such as enhancing public transport or controlling industrial emissions, overlook these rural sources.

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The GCARE proposes the creation of regional air quality plans similar to successful models in Mexico City and Los Angeles.

To enhance monitoring, the experts suggest generating “smog forecasts” using satellite technology to detect pollution sources and predict interactions with weather conditions.

The establishment of “Airshed Councils” is also proposed to facilitate coordination among local, regional, and federal agencies.

One of the authors of the study, Anwar Ali Khan from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, emphasised the important role of neighbouring states in collaborative action, the need for a scientifically sound action plan, and improved monitoring. He said,

We need an action plan with a sound scientific basis, and we need better monitoring. This requires cities, governments, and others to work together. A joined-up approach is the only way to defeat this deadly health hazard.

Another author, Mukesh Khare, Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, highlighted the importance of shifting from city-specific to region-specific emission reduction targets.

Establishing an “airshed” is deemed critical for effective air quality management and planning, he said.

Also Read: An Invisible Killer Hangs In The Air Of Asia’s Cities

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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