CEED demands healthy breathable air: Urges Government to fight indoor air pollution.

Patna, 22nd August, 2016; Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED) organized  a national conference on ‘Indoor Air Pollution’ to urge the Govt. of Bihar to formulate policies and programme to create smokeless environment for healthy and breathable air. The conference focused on clean energy and ways to tackle problems associated with methods of clean cooking in Bihar. Over hundreds of stakeholders representing energy companies, policy makers, health experts, academicians, scientists, private practitioners and NGOs gathered in to deliberate over  the rising challenges of cooking fuels and indoor air pollution. The conference critically analysed variant combinations of clean cooking practices, improved stoves and fuels that can be used to achieve better health, environment and social outcomes for people, and ways in which these can be best scaled-up.

While addressing the conference, Mr. Ramapati Kumar, CEO, CEED elaborated that “The Government needs to show urgency to combat the issues contributing to air pollution in the city and work towards regenerating a clean and safe environment. This is not about aspiration but respiration. Such an environment can only be achieved if different stakeholders in the society work in partnership and maximise efforts with data, innovation, technology, community driven awareness programmes, inductive activities and deductive policy frameworks, We look forward to working closely with the government and other stakeholders to provide clean energy solutions to the masses on a much larger scale. Such an initiative shall help address the devastating effects on health, gender, and the environment.”

While inaugurating the conference, Hon’ble Education Minister, Dr. Ashok Choudhry elucidated that, “Reliable and affordable energy is critical to the development and the efficient use of resources is key to achieve a holistic growth in the society. This conference is a great initiative to commence discussion on clean cooking through clean energy practices.” A first of its kind, this initiative shall provide a platform for various forums of the society to come together and deliberate detailed solutions to the hard-pressing problem of air pollution. The discussions carried out today shall mark as constructive outcomes to help the Bihar government ensure access to sustainable energy and respond to the demand for clean cooking, reliable lighting and other essential household needs in the state.

Shri Shrawan Kumar, Hon’ble Rural Development Minister, Govt. of Bihar assured the citizens that his team is truly committed to provide safe, affordable and clean cooking solutions to millions of people in Bihar. He also assured full cooperation in order to formulate the new program to eliminate indoor air pollution.

Founder Member Secretary of Asian Development Research Institute, Dr. Shaibal Gupta, conveyed that, “The current response to pervasive poor air quality concerning both ambient and indoor atmosphere is inadequate in the state, and that a large population is affected by indoor air pollution attributed to the traditional use of solid fuel in cooking. I applaud CEED for taking lead on enhancing knowledge and raising awareness on this issue. It is a commendable effort by CEED to gather such a diverse group representing various stakeholders on one common platform.”

Over 1.38 lakh households in Patna PUAA and about 90% of the population in Bihar still uses solid fuel in traditional open fire cooking, emanating harmful emissions of particulate matter, greenhouse gases and short-lived climate pollutants. Use of solid fuels not only promotes deforestation, it is an expensive proposition for poor families which costs them time and money that could otherwise be utilised for food, education and healthcare. Any action taken to prevent this has not been effective and the ill-effects of indoor air pollution in Bihar has been rising with an alarming rate.

The conference entailed discussions and knowledge sharing on innovations and practical experiences on clean cooking development in order to promote healthy breathable air. It provided an opportunity to bring about strategies and policies for cleaner air, and social and economic benefits across the state. The topics for discussion also included a critical analysis on existing policies for clean cooking.