Chennai City Dialogue on Clean Air and Sustainable Mobility: An Agenda for Action

The collaborative workshop on Air quality and transportation challenge: An agenda for action in Chennai was a joint initiative of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) and the New Delhi based Centre for Science and Environment. The city dialogue held on August 6, 2013 in Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board Auditorium, Chennai and was attended by nearly 160 participants including most of them from auto industries.

The objective of this meet was to discuss critical issues of air quality management, public health protection, and the challenges of public transport and congestion. This forum will captured the learning from initiatives adopted in Chennai and share experiences from Delhi and other cities to evolve strategies for future policy action.

CSE released its findings and assessment of Rapid Perception Survey and was continued by selected citizen stakeholders of Chennai who gave their take on air quality, mobility conditions and required strategies for the city on this occasion. The survey was conducted to understand people’s perception of air pollution and mobility problems in the city. This was addressed by H. Malleshappa, Director of Environment & Member Secretary, TNPCB; K. Karthikeyan, JCCE, TNPCB. Among the other panelists who participated were, Anumita RoyChowdhury, Executive Director, CSE; Bhure Lal, Chairman, Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA); Dr. Kalpana Balakrishnan, Professor & Director, Center for Advanced Research on Environmental Health, Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai; M. Pughalendi, Superintendent Engineer (Bus Route roads), Corporation of Chennai; Raj Cherubal, Director (Projects), Chennai City Connect; S. M. Shiva Nagendra, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT, Madras; and Roshan Toshniwal, Researcher, Transparent Chennai.

This inter-city dialogue on our common challenges and solutions across cities is part of an experience sharing dialogue series initiated by clean air and mobility programme of CSE to build up a nation-wide debate on the grass root challenges of mobility and public health crisis in our cities.

The amazing range and depth of discussions and debate on air quality and mobility challenges during the dialogue will continue to enrich our knowledge and strengthen our action in Chennai. This is possible because of the valuable and insightful vision shared by our deeply revered panel members who are also reputed experts in their fields and representative of the different stakeholder communities including participants from civil society, academia, press, students as so on.

The Chennai dialogue forum discussed and debated on issues related to air quality benefits of first generation reforms, emerging air quality and health challenges, issues related to sub-utilisation of public transport systems including the tramways in the city and poor facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users. The expert panel recommended that air pollution is major concern and parking norms should be tightened across the city and the city must shift focus from car centric development towards providing mobility choices to majority of people who either walks, cycle, or take public transport.