ICLEI South Asia has been working for several years to influence sustainability policies and drive mitigation and adaptation actions to increase resilience to climate change in the region. Now, we are going ahead with providing support to local governments in the management and mitigation of air pollution.
Late last year, IQAir, a Switzerland-based climate group and a technology partner of United Nations Environment, registered three cities from India – Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai – on the list of the 10 cities with the worst air quality globally. This came soon after a revision by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of its air quality guidelines, with more stringent limits for six pollutants—particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), ozone, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) sulphur dioxide (SO2) and carbon monoxide (CO). But many Indian cities fail to meet even the air quality levels set by WHO in 2005.
However, several urban local governments are now getting their act together to develop clean air action plans to meet targets under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). ICLEI South Asia is working with the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and four municipal corporations in the Delhi- National Capital Region – East Delhi, Gurugram, Meerut and South Delhi – to improve the ambient air quality. The projects with Ahmedabad and Meerut are being implemented under a new performance-based grant programme of the 15th Finance Commission in which cities are getting increased funding to improve air quality.
ICLEI South Asia will support Ahmedabad to establish and strengthen institutional mechanisms, capacity building of various stakeholders involved, conduct monthly air quality analysis, identification of hotspots/ critical areas based on air quality trends, and preparation of micro action plan for hotspots, among other activities. Ahmedabad is the nodal city for strategising air quality improvement in other cities (i.e. Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot) of Gujarat too.
Under the two-year Building City Leadership on Clean Air Action in the Delhi-NCR project, actions will be initiated to improve air quality, create awareness and facilitate coordination between different implementing agencies to develop replicable, tried and tested approaches through pilot projects.
We have been supporting cities to create comprehensive emission inventory in South Asia by using our Harmonised Emissions Analysis Tool (HEAT+), which is in compliance with the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC). HEAT+ is a specialised online software supporting local governments to estimate emissions of greenhouse gases as well as criteria air pollutants such as particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOx), carbon monoxide (CO), and volatile organic compounds.