Workshop on Clean Air and Sustainable Mobility in Bengaluru

A joint initiative of the Centre for Science and Environment and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board

Venue: Auditorium of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board at 'Parisara Bhavan', #49, 4th & 5th Floor, Church Street, Bengaluru
Date: March 22, 2013 (Friday)
Time: 9 am – 4 pm

Centre for Science and Environment organised a workshop on Clean Air and Sustainable Mobility on March 22, 2013 at Bengaluru in collaboration with the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board. This event is part of our ongoing initiative to build a forum for city dialogue to share experiences and insights and deepen public awareness. This series was initiated in Bengaluru that has already implemented variety of measures to reduce air pollution and mobility challenges and it is already on its way to evolving the next generation policy measures. Many cities in the southern states are strengthening public transport, non-motorised transport among various other transport reforms and also discussing the technology roadmap. This workshop brought together 110 regulators from Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, transport department, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation, activists, media persons and other stakeholders who are involved with the strategies for clean air and sustainable mobility.

The panelists who participated in the discussions were Ayi Vaman N. Acharya, chairman, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board; Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, Centre for Science and Environment; H. Paramesh, director and pediatric pulmonologist, Lakeside Medical Center & Hospital; Ashish Verma, assistant professor, department of civil engineering and associate faculty, Centre for infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning; C. G. Anand, chief mechanical engineer, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation; M. N. Murali Krishna, technical advisor, TVS Motor Company Limited and Nanda Kumar, senior environmental officer, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board.

CSE flagged off the key concerns for cities in south India and presented alarming facts. About 50 per cent of south Indian cities are reeling from high particulate pollution. Bengaluru among 14 cities which are in the ‘high’ bracket may slip into the ‘critical’ category if immediate steps are not taken. CSE analysis stressed that Bengaluru and other cities in the southern region need second generation action, including scaling up of public transport, integrated multi-modal transport options, car restraints and walking for clean air. CSE recommendations include -- Make livable cities to cut toxic emissions; strengthen air quality, health monitoring and risk communication; tighten fuel quality and emissions roadmap to ensure that forecasting modes, implement an air quality index system and health advisory for informing people about ill effects of poor air quality; tighten fuel quality and emissions roadmap to ensure that pollutants are cut at source; introduce Euro V and Euro VI on a nation-wide basis with an early timeline; strengthen emissions checks on in-use vehicles; scale up and accelerate bus transport reforms; integrate public transport and non-motorised transport like cycling, walking and para-transit systems; build pedestrian infrastructure; enforce parking controls, rationalise parking charges on cars and use tax measures to discourage personal vehicle usage and inefficient use of fuels.

The other speakers/panelists addressed the gathering on key initiatives taken and planned to achieve clean air; public health challenges of air pollution, strategies needed to address mobility crisis in Bengaluru and other cities; BMTC’s initiatives to improve bus operations, ridership and technology upgrades for improved emissions and efficiency, and challenges of two and three-wheeler emissions. The workshop helped to capture the initiatives and identify the second generation action plan.