Workshop on Air Quality and Environmentally Sustainable Transport in Colombo: April 28, 2011

The Clean Air and sustainable mobility programme of the Centre for Science and Environment organised the Sri Lanka Country Workshop on Air Quality and Environmentally Sustainable Transport along with the Air Resource Management Centre (Air MAC), Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Transport in Colombo.

This event is part of the ongoing effort to find solutions to the scary air pollution challenge and the mobility crisis facing the South Asian cities today. This is an initiative to engage with the policy makers and people of these cities to deepen public understanding and strengthen the policy action on air pollution and urban mobility and also share lessons from Indian cities like Delhi to chart the future course of action.

The workshop brought together a multi-stakeholder group of 80 comprising of regulators, civil society, industry, academia, health and air pollution experts as well as bus and three-wheeler operators. The high level panel that addressed the group included the Secretary-Environment, Secretary-Transport, Director General-Finance and Planning, Director General-Sustainable Energy Authority, Additional Secretary-Ministry of Tranpsort, Clean Air Sri Lanka - civil society group, and the health and air pollution experts from the University of Colombo and University of Moratuwa.

Delhi and Colombo both are rapidly growing cities in the South Asian region and face serious concerns about the likely adverse impact of motorization. The intense discussions focused on the key policy issues that can help both the cities manage this growing menace by understanding the emerging learning curve at the early stages of motorisation.

It was also concluded that though each city will have to address the unique local challenges and potential and work according to its own imperatives simultaneously, Indian experiences on first generation action in cities can be used to inform action in other South Asian cities which are facing similar challenges.