CEED demanded regional cooperation and action to combat the menace of air pollution 

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Mayors of Lucknow and Ranchi pledged for improved air quality

CEED organized a national conference to foster regional cooperation and encourage an information-sharing mechanism to combat the deadly air pollution existing in the Indo-Gangetic region. The conference ‘Cities’ Dialogue: Air Pollution Abatement and Role of City Administration’ aimed to start an inter-city dialogue for effective coordination to develop a response plan for air pollution abatement. The conference rolled out a platform for experience-sharing between the two cities and helped assess the capacity of a local administration to tackle air pollution issues through urban planning. Smt. Asha Lakra, Honourable Mayor of Ranchi and Smt. Sanyukta Bhatia, Honourable Mayor of Lucknow, along with other guest speakers from various industries, environmental experts, scientists, academicians, media and doctors were present at the conference.

Hon’ble Mayor of Lucknow, Smt. Sanyukta Bhatia assured the people of Lucknow that her administration will take the strongest measures to improve the air quality in the city and will work in close coordination with other state departments such as the state pollution control board for timely action. She further added that the government of Uttar Pradesh was already working in tandem with the national government to develop a long-term plan to improve the air quality in a sustainable way. The Hon’ble mayor of Lucknow also appreciated the effort of CEED to initiate a cities’ dialogue to improve the air quality in the region, as she clearly outlined that the menace of air pollution could be eliminated through cooperation and coordination because air pollution has no boundary. “I have kept air pollution control as one of my top priorities. But to make a concrete plan for cleaner air, the sharing of credible and carefully curated information is vital. I look forward to expert discussions for the necessary institutional framework for pollution control and hope for a proposal for an action plan as a major outcome of the conference so that the municipality can consider and work on it”, she concluded.

While highlighting the air quality of Ranchi, the Hon’ble Mayor of Ranchi, Smt. Asha Lakra said, “The air quality in Ranchi is also deteriorating due to various reasons and we need to take immediate steps to improve it. It is hovering above the national level for the last two years and immediate action is required to not let it slip further.” She lauded the effort of CEED to bring together the mayors of various cities on one platform and find a solution to improve the air quality in the region. She further added that as the Mayor of Ranchi, she will request the Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board to formulate a Clean Air Action Plan for the entire state.

Speaking on the importance of a regional air pollution control plan and strengthening the local administration, Mr. Abhishek Pratap, Program Director, CEED said, “A regional approach is crucial to design and implement long-term mitigation strategies for air pollution. Well-coordinated inter-government mitigation strategies will not only regulate the transboundary sources of pollution but will also cap pilferage by violators. The conference has brought together two cities on a single platform to share their vision and to devise strategic solutions to ensure cleaner air to breathe.” He further stressed the need for spatial planning, land use management and a well-integrated interdepartmental effort to improve the urban air quality of Lucknow and Ranchi. “Each city has a different situation, and with a regional perspective, a city-specific intervention will ensure the improvement in the quality of air because it has a scope for defining new innovations and experiments”, he concluded.

The expert forum during the technical session discussed and debated issues related to emerging air quality and health challenges, issues related to public transport systems and poor air quality monitoring. The expert panel recommended a regional approach for air pollution control and city-specific intervention to clean up the nation’s air to be implemented as a matter of urgency.