Knowledge Network launched to aid State Pollution Control Boards for NCAP success

Environment and climate change

October 16,
2019, Lucknow: Air pollution is a
growing concern for India’s development. It continues to plague the country’s
public health, crop yield, weather, climate, ecosystems and heritage. While poor
air quality is a global problem, the country faces a high disease burden with
swathes of population living in places with high particulate matter, that
causes both acute and chronic health impacts.

With the
aim to reduce air pollution, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate
Change (MoEFCC) launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)
in January this year. The overarching objective of NCAP is to reduce air
pollution
by 20-30% in the next 5 years, considering 2019 as the
baseline. In the long-term, it is expected that National Air Quality Standards
will be met in all (102) non- attainment cities.

Successful
implementation of the NCAP will rely on a robust coordination by a strong
knowledge network which will support the NCAP where needed. Institutions of
higher learning with strong research expertise in air quality, civil/mechanical
engineering, environmental sciences, public health were identified as knowledge
partners for State Pollution Control Boards to deliver on the objectives of the
NCAP. To that extent, an umbrella alliance, National Knowledge Network, NKN,
of IITs/Labs/Universities has been created across 18 states in the country.
This network will act as a knowledge partner to the National Clean Air Program.
IIT-K was designated as the national nodal institution and Prof. Sachchida Nand
Tripathi, IITK was appointed as the national nodal faculty for this network.

The
National Knowledge Network was kicked off in Lucknow today, to join forces with
the NCAP objectives and move India closer towards its vision for blue skies.
The following are some of the institutions part of the NKN- IIT, Kanpur, Delhi,
Madras, Bombay, Roorkee, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Tirupati, PGI Chandigarh, Bose
Institute Kolkata to name a few.

Prof Sachchida Nand Tripathi,
National Nodal Faculty – IIT-K, NKN, said,

State Pollution boards will be the key pillars for combating air pollution
in India, and are slated to play a major role in the effective implementation
of the NCAP.  Integration of higher
learning institutions in planning, implementation and monitoring of air
pollution across the country will be an important support to NCAP. The
technical institutes will offer organised assistance in monitoring, identifying
sources, and prioritizing action towards air quality management. They will play
the necessary supporting role by providing regular inputs to SPCBs and work
towards a systematic reduction of pollution sources across key cities.

A
3-pronged approach is adopted in achieving the overall goals of NCAP: (a)
knowledge and database augmentation, (b) institutional strengthening and (c)
mitigation of pollution sources. The knowledge network launched today is aimed
towards working with MOEFCC on one hand, and state pollution boards on the
other, to support the three pronged approach for achieving reduction in PM
across 18 states in the country.

The
meeting was inaugurated by Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath as the chief guest
for the meeting.

Shri Adityanath, said

“the issue of air pollution is a serious fallout of human imbalance
with nature, thus, finding its place in the SDGs. India can lead the world on
developing feasible solutions, and that will require a strong will, concrete
strategy and inter-departmental, multi-stakeholder coordination. I have noticed
there is greater need for various agencies including the PCBs to act in
coordination for effective outcomes in reducing pollution. Our efforts also get
hurt by high technology prices so we need the developers and scientists to
bring the costs of technology down to feasible levels.”

Prakash Javadekar, Union
Environment Minister, who sent a message on the occasion, said

We have tightened emission norms
for industry. We are also going ahead with BSVI across the country from April
2020 and are moving ahead on EVs. I hope that the ongoing partnership will fast
track the air quality management efforts and we will be able to see further results
in a defined time period’’

The
conference was attended by international experts and organisations like the United
Nations Environmental Program
(UNEP), World Bank, Bloomberg
Philanthropies, Shakti Foundation,
along with clean air start-ups who
have made significant contribution to this field, as well as state pollution
control board Member secretaries and faculties from participating educational
institutions. The event was the first of its kind where national and
international experts converged along with implementation bodies for knowledge
sharing, towards the joint goal of fighting air pollution in India.

Mr C.K. Mishra, Secretary,
MoEFCC, said,

‘’There
are two critical pillars for the success of NCAP. One that the plans are city specific
and practical, and second that the implementation is backed by science. The
setting up of the knowledge network will provide science based action and make
sure we succeed in implementation of the national clean air programme’’

Mr S. P. Singh Parihar, Chairman,
Central Pollution Control Board
, said

‘’I hope
that the NKN will provide both knowledge and meaningful actions towards
cleaning the air in India’’. He specifically laid out a vision for clean air in
lower temperature and sought solutions from the knowledge network which will
help dissipate the high levels of air pollution north of India repeatedly comes
under.

Mr J.P.S
Rathore,Chairman, UPPCB
said,

’’ Fifteen cities of UP are part of the NCAP. UPPCB has prepared a good work-plan for these
cities to reduce pollution. Streamlining of metro wok has also prevented spread
of pollution. Further I would request that the academics should also focus on
developing cutting edge technology towards reducing pollution from  various sources.’’

Ms Ailun
Yang, Bloomberg Philanthropies

“Improving air quality is critical for fostering healthy communities, which is why Bloomberg Philanthropies is excited to ​work with ​IIT Kanpur in this critical effort to address the detrimental effects of air pollution. By collaborating with higher learning institutions who have the knowledge and science to support NCAP’s clean air endeavors, this network is an important step forward in creating a healthier, cleaner environment that will have a significant impact on India’s communities.

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