Orientation conclave on Air Quality Management: Building Strategies for Clean Air

On 22nd February, 2019, Centre for Science and Environment and the Department of Environment, West Bengal jointly organized an orientation conclave in Kolkata to deliberate on creation of next generation strategies for clean air in the city. Led by Mr Indevar Pandey, Additional Chief Secretary, Environment and Forests; Dr Subrata Gupta, Principal Secretary,Urban Development and Municipal Affairs; Mr N S Nigam, Secretary,Transport; Mr Niraj Singhal, Member Secretary, West Bengal State Pollution Control Board; and Ms Anumita Roychowdhury, Executive Director-Research and Advocacy, CSE, the event witnessed the participation of over 55 attendees including officials from the Departments of Environment, Transport, State Pollution Control Board, Municipal Corporation and Traffic Police. To build opportunity for cross-learning based on global and national best practices this forum also brought together experts from the International Council on Clean Transportation, USA; MTR Corporation, the biggest transit operation in Hong Kong; and the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), among others. The deliberations highlighted that urban air quality management would call for time-bound, integrated and multi-sectoral action which requires adoption of several new generation compliance methods and systems to control real world emissions from vehicles, and comprehensive design details of mitigation strategies for industrial pollution, construction dust  and waste generation. 

Kolkata has already taken the lead to introduce remote sensing measurements for on-road surveillance, has the unique opportunity to build upon its advantage of having a diverse set of public transport systems where almost 90 percent of the travel trips areby public transport and has recently acquired 20 electric buses. With the city going through a construction boom, effect construction dust management and management of construction and demolition waste will be crucial for improving air quality in the city. This forum targeted the aforementioned sectors and set the agenda for discussions to follow that would enable knowledge sharing to build capacity, design advanced strategies and strengthen implementation for cleaner air.