ICLEI South Asia launched the “Building City Leadership on Clean Air Action in Delhi National Capital Region” project, supported by the Clean Air Fund, during a workshop held on the 25th of May 2022. The project aims to support the Municipal Corporations of Delhi, Gurugram, and Meerut to build their leadership on improving air quality.
In 2019, 15 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world were from India, with five of them – Gurugram, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Noida, and Delhi – being located in the Delhi- National Capital Region (Delhi-NCR). Despite several laws, court directives, and other measures being taken, the air quality in the area has continued to deteriorate. The role of the city governments has been limited, leading to minimal interest and limited capacity to undertake relevant initiatives.
In this context, the new two-year Delhi-NCR project aims to guide and support the cities’ leadership in taking ground actions to improve air quality in their jurisdiction, develop a platform and facilitate dialogues for the partner cities to discuss and understand other cities. The project is in its initial phase and the team has collected and analysed the baseline information specific to air quality in each project city, developed a draft of action plans in association with the respective municipal corporations and started on-ground work. The project team aims to conduct training programmes for the city officials on enhancing green cover, promoting clean mobility solutions, reducing dust, and managing solid waste, among other activities.
In his welcome address at the workshop, Executive Director of ICLEI South Asia Mr. Emani Kumar reflected on the efforts of the state and national governments towards improving air quality and emphasised the need for bringing these actors together to learn from each other. Dr. K S Jayachandran, Member Secretary, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), spoke about the success of the electric vehicle (EV) policy in Delhi, adding that it would be made mandatory for delivery services to use EV vehicles. Dr. M P George, Scientist, DPCC, said that dust particles were the major cause of pollution in the region.
Mr. Subhash Yadav, Additional CEO, Urban Environment, Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), Mr. Pramod Kumar, Additional Commissioner, Meerut Nagar Nigam, Mr. Amit Kumar Sharma, Chief Engineer, Meerut Nagar Nigam, and other chief engineers from the participating municipal corporations discussed the challenges they faced in implementing the projects to combat air pollution and mitigation steps taken to overcome those challenges.
The workshop was also attended by three experts, from the following domains solid waste management, green cover, and smart mobility solutions who along with the city officials brainstormed to identify the status of mobility, solid waste management, and enhancing green cover in each project city. There were also discussions on recycling methods, mechanical sweeping of streets, and better planning of streets as mitigation strategies for improving air quality.