Accelerator to offer technical support to ten cities in implementing air quality improvement solutions.
National, July 21, 2023: WRI India launched the Accelerator for Clean Air Actions (ACAAS). The initiative, supported by Open Philanthropy, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Clean Air Fund, will extend technical support to cities looking to improve their air quality management practices. ACAAS was launched in the presence of representatives of the ten cities, at WRI India’s flagship event, Connect Karo 2023.
The ten cities to be engaged under the program are Surat, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Indore, Mumbai, Pune, Jalandhar, Agra, Gorakhpur, and Chennai. ACAAS will help participating cities build local capacity, data-based understanding, and clean air action planning, along with offering them a platform to engage with critical stakeholders to drive informed policy making, project preparation and on-ground implementation.
Air pollution is one of the leading environmental health risks worldwide. Many Indian cities face air pollution related issues regularly spurring national-level action. The Government of India launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) in 2019 to reduce particulate matter through city-specific air quality management plans. Cities that are categorized as non-attainment – i.e., cities that fall short of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for 5+ years in a row – are keen to implement state-level actions aligned with the NCAP. The Accelerator for Clean Air Actions will not only support such city- and state-level plans but will also help urban areas improve their monitoring and outcomes.
Speaking at the launch, Mr. Jamshyd Godrej, Chairman, WRI India & Chairman and Managing Director, Godrej & Boyce said, “Air pollution becomes an important subject only when we see the AQI in our major cites skyrocketing. The awareness of that fades later. We need to raise awareness through real-time monitoring along with enabling public access to data. People are hungry for this real-time data.”
Priya Shankar of Bloomberg Philanthropies said: “At Bloomberg Philanthropies, we have been pleased to work with Indian cities on efforts in support of the National Clean Air Program. To implement effective, long-term air quality solutions, cities need support with developing local capacity, access to evidence and technical analysis, and opportunities to learn from each other. This Accelerator helps expand such support to reach more cities in India as we know cities have a vital role to play in achieving cleaner air and improving the quality of life for their residents”.
Dr. Santosh Harish, Program Officer, South Asian Air Quality, Open Philanthropy said, “Poor air quality has a substantial public health burden in India, and the task of mitigating it is made difficult by the number and variety of sources responsible. WRI India has built an impressive track record of assisting state and local governments in Gujarat in the design and implementation of pollution abatement policies. With the launch of this initiative, we hope to replicate this model in other parts of the country.”
Ms. Mugdha Jain, Country Lead, India, Clean Air Fund, said, “Indian cities, especially those along the Indo Gangetic plains, face acute air pollution, which is detrimental to the environment, human health, and the economy. Large-scale air pollution mitigation actions are crucial for thriving cities and economies. Coordination and joint efforts of stakeholders in the ecosystem, including state and local governments, technical experts and civil society organizations can go a long way in enabling the actions towards improvement of air quality.”
ACAAS aims to address air quality challenges through a research-driven, solution-centric approach. As Madhav Pai, CEO WRI India explains, “For effective clean air action, cities need to develop their internal capacities around air quality, tools, and technical resources along with ensuring smooth collaboration among various stakeholders. WRI India has been working with several cities to improve their air quality. We have, supported Surat in developing a comprehensive clean air action plan under NCAP and are working with Indore to implement air pollution mitigation solutions. We will leverage these experiences and our research to shape the outcomes of the Accelerator for Clean Air Actions.”
About WRI India: WRI India, an independent charity legally registered as the India Resources Trust, provides objective information and practical proposals to foster environmentally sound and socially equitable development. Our work focuses on building sustainable and liveable cities and working towards a low carbon economy. Through research, analysis, and recommendations, WRI India puts ideas into action to build transformative solutions to protect the earth, promote livelihoods, and enhance human well-being. We are inspired by and associated with World Resources Institute (WRI), a global research organisation. Know more: www.wri-india.org