Experts call for a robust system to implement existing clean-air policies, hail National Clean Air Programme
ONE IN EIGHT DEATHS IN THE COUNTRY IN 2017 WAS ATTRIBUTABLE TO AIR POLLUTION, MAKING IT THE LEADING RISK FACTOR FOR DEATH ACROSS INDIA
NEW DELHI: Creating a robust system to implement existing clean-air policies, promoting coordination between the Centre and states, and devising stateand district-level pollution control plans are vital to improve air quality, experts say.
One in eight deaths in the country in 2017 was attributable to air pollution, making it the leading risk factor for death across India, said a state-level disease burden study published in Lancet Planet Health on Thursday.
The statewise breakup of data, however, shows that there is a three and six-fold variation in deaths and healthy life-years lost because of pollution. The heterogeneity among the states needs to be addressed by identifying local sources of pollution and developing policies to address them.
We need detailed emission inventories that not only tell us the type of pollutant but also what proportion of it is coming from where and what are the chemical properties. We get data on this from various studies conducted by the IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) but we need to strengthen our monitoring systems too,said Tushar Joshi, adviser on occupational and environmental health and chemical safety in the Union health ministry.
The government is in the process of adding more automatic air quality monitoring stations and it is needed in the rural areas too, where typically the high ozone pollution is leading to failing crops. The ozone is high as there is no nitrous oxides to neutralise it, he said.
The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, under which women of poor households are being provided free cooking gas connections to reduce their dependence on firewood, is one step towards addressing the problem, said Sagnik Dey, one of the authors of the study and an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi.
For a county as large as India, source apportionment studies cannot be done everywhere, but modelling studies have shown biggest contributor, for the country as a whole, is use of solid fuels, said Dey.
Experts hailed the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) that aims to reduce PM 2.5 and PM 10 pollutants by 30% and 20% respectively.
The NCAP is a good start as it allows states to formulate their own plans. However, it is more important to improve the coordination among states and with the Centre for effective implementation of already existing and any policies that are introduced in the future, said Dey.
For example, the 15-year diesel vehicles removed from the roads in Delhi are not discarded but sold off to other places where they continue polluting. Would that pollution not come back to Delhi? he said.
Adding to the problem is the slow percolation of policies across the country.This is what we see with low emission diesel or CNG (compressed natural gas) vehicles, which are still not feasible in many parts of the country. The government has brought in the BS (Bharat Stage) VI standards, which may face the same problem, said Kamna Sachdeva, associate professor at the TERI School of Advanced Studies
India will move up to the toughest emission standards of BS-VI from the current BS-IV by 2020, skipping an intermediate level.
Fixing accountability is also needed. â€œThe NCAP should be released incorporating the time-bound pollution reduction targets across sectors with fixed accountability and strong legal backing, said Sunil Dahiya, senior campaigner, Greenpeace India.
And the focus should not just be on the polluting industries and the emissions from thermal power plants.
The government already has norms for the emissions from industries and policy on reducing dependency on fuelbased power. But we often forget that solid fuels are also used in the numerous dhabas across the country, or the dust pollution caused by sweeping, and inefficient municipal waste disposal that leads to people burning household waste. Emphasis should be on these too, said Dr Lalit Dandona, senior author and director of the India StateLevel Disease Burden InitiativeRead More
The 10th meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) President’s Advisory Group on Climate Change and Sustainable Development was held today at ADB headquarters.
The Advisory Group’s discussions focused on the results and implications of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C for developing member countries (DMCs) and ADB’s work in the Asia and Pacific region. The group also considered approaches for effectively tackling climate change, building climate and disaster resilience, and enhancing environmental sustainability. The Advisory Group has been meeting since 2009.
The ADB President’s Advisory Group is headed by IPCC Chair Prof. Hoesung Lee and composed of the following high-level international experts: Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs (Columbia University), Prof. Leena Srivastava (TERI School of Advanced Studies in India), Mr. Andrew Steer (CEO, World Resources Institute), Prof. Dadi Zhou (National Development and Reform Commission in the People’s Republic of China), Prof. Laurence Tubiana (CEO, European Climate Foundation), Prof. Yukari Takamura (University of Tokyo), and Dame Meg Taylor (Secretary General, Pacific Islands Forum). Mr. Lee, Mr. Zhou, and Ms. Takamura came to ADB headquarters for the meeting, while other members participated via video conference.
As part of ADB’s new long-term Strategy 2030, the bank has committed to ensuring that 75% of its operations support climate change mitigation and adaptation by 2030, while providing cumulative climate financing of $80 billion from ADB’s own sources between 2019 and 2030.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Nakao emphasized that the bank will scale up support for climate change mitigation by prioritizing investments for low greenhouse gas emission (GHG) energy, implementing sustainable transport and urban transportation strategies, and encouraging DMCs to shift to a low GHG emission development path. On adaptation, ADB will take a comprehensive approach to promote physical, financial, social and institutional, and eco-based resilience.
Mr. Lee explained the main findings of the IPCC report and challenges to achieving pathways consistent with limiting the increase in global warming to 1.5°C. Ms. Takamura mentioned that one encouraging sign in climate actions is the increase in voluntary involvement of nongovernment actors, such as business associations and local communities. Mr. Zhou suggested that countries should regard clear climate targets as important as gross domestic product growth. Finally, Ms. Srivastava, Mr. Steer, and Ms. Tubiana emphasized ADB’s role among multilateral development banks, increased consumer awareness, and clear messages to the public regarding realistic pathways to limit global warming.
In 2018, ADB loan and grant commitments for climate change mitigation and adaptation totaled $4.5 billion for 103 projects. The projects included green, climate-resilient, and low-carbon urban development in Mongolia; climate-resilient port infrastructure in Nauru; and supporting timely and accurate forecasting of extreme weather events in Tajikistan.
In addition, ADB is providing technical assistance in the region, including helping Bangladesh, Indonesia, and the Philippines enhance their capacity for designing and implementing investment projects that strengthen resilience of the urban poor. ADB has also been hosting regional knowledge events such as the 6th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum in October 2018, which was co-organized with the governments of the Philippines and Palau. The Office of the General Counsel has hosted events on climate and environmental law by inviting judges and other law experts.
Vedanta Ltd Monday announced strengthening of its advisory board with appointment of new advisors Saurabh Chandra and Leena Srivastava.
Chandra was the former secretary for the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas from March 2014 to April 2015 and Srivastava is the vice-chancellor of TERI SAS.
"Vedanta Ltd has appointed new advisors for strategic counsel and guidance to help the company make even more significant contribution to India's natural resources sector and boost overall economic growth," the mining company said in a statement.
The appointment of Chandra and Srivastava will bring experience to Vedanta's advisory board, and help reinforce the company's leadership position in the global resources sector, it said.
"I am delighted to welcome Saurabh Chandra and Leena Srivastava to our advisory board, who are experts in their respective domains. As Vedanta enters a new phase of growth and expansion, I am confident that the group will immensely benefit from their deep knowledge, strategic counsel and rich experience," Vedanta Ltd Chairman Navin Agarwal said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)Read More
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