City of Taj Mahal, Agra launches action plan to combat air pollution
· World Environment Day celebrations in India kickstart with the launch of an action plan to combat air pollution in Agra.
· CPCB approved Agra action plan has a comprehensive and multi-stakeholder approach
· UP Government to roll out 650 electric busses; Massive Fund plans $30 million project on plastic waste management, Kanoria group to invest Rs.15,000 crore in PPP mode to support sustainability activities in Agra city.
Agra, Uttar Pradesh, June 1, 2019 – Kickstarting the World Environment Day celebrations in India, a comprehensive action plan to control air pollution was launched in Agra, one of India’s most polluted cities and home to the majestic Taj Mahal. Senior state and city officials present at the launch emphasized the importance of this action plan in laying a definitive roadmap for other Indian cities in mitigating air pollution.
“In the fight against pollution we should move towards decentralized solutions. Organizational structure at various levels in the form of a responsibility matrix will also be key to implementation,” said Anup Chandra Pandey, Chief Secretary, Uttar Pradesh. He added, “further capacity building of institutions would be important to put in place the standard operating procedures in the pollution control initiatives.”
Keshav Varma, Advisor to the Government of Uttar Pradesh spoke about the growing problem of urbanization and air pollution. He said, “The ‘Blue Water and Blue-Sky approach’ of Beijing is a good example and we have the full capability to implement our activities with the same spirit.” Mr. Varma requested the Chief Secretary to set up a committee under his office and undertake monitoring of the action plan.
Developed by the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board with technical inputs from UN Environment, Clean Air Asia and other partners based on a round-table organised in February, the action plan recently got the nod from Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). With short and long-term objectives, the comprehensive Action Plan covers vehicle emission control, suspension of road dust, emission control such as biomass, crop residue, garbage and municipal solid waste burning, industrial emissions, air pollution from construction and demolition activities and monitoring of air quality to name a few.
“Various measures will be undertaken to address the challenge of air pollution, however, afforestation activities with tree guards would also be one of the main components in the coming years,” said Naveen Kumar Jain, Mayor, Agra
The city’s tourism industry has hit a major low for the past few years owing to aggravated air pollution which caused the discoloration of the Taj Mahal. Supreme Court of India had directed the government to take a slew of measures to tackle Agra’s growing air pollution woes.
“Launch of this action plan marks an important and decisive step forward in systematically combatting air pollution. Preventive actions and local-scale compliance enforcement tools, uniquely designed as agreement between local government and private sector, could contribute significantly to successful implementation of the plan and sustainability in the long term.” said Atul Bagai, Head, UN Environment, India.
In order to cut vehicular emissions, Uttar Pradesh Government plans to roll out 650 electric buses, out if which more than 100 have already been procured. Various private sector players present at the launch offered their support in combatting pollution on various fronts. To help deal with Agra’s mounting plastic waste, Massive Fund proposed a project of $30 million under Alliance to End Plastic, which will absorb more than 90 percent of plastic waste from Agra. Waste management firm, Geocycle proposed to pilot a technology to clean up the Yamuna river in Agra. Kanoria Industries plans to invest Rs.15,000 crore in Private-Public-Partnership mode for sustainability related activities in the city.
“The action plan is a unique multi-stakeholder strategy for implementation and we are proud to have the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh launch this plan. It is encouraging to have such high level representation and we look forward to working with UN Environment and other implementing partners in cleaning Agra’s air,” said Prarthana Borah, India Director, Clean Air Asia.
Environment and Health is another important aspect of the Agra action plan, wherein opportunities for assessment of health impact of air pollution will also be explored.
The Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) earlier this year to meet the prescribed annual average ambient air quality standards for 102 non-attainment Indian cities by 2025, Agra city is one of them. The Agra city action plan can guide other NCAP cities into devising strategies to combat air pollution and associated health risks.
NOTES TO EDITORS
About UN Environment:
UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world.
About Clean Air Asia
Clean Air Asia is an international NGO that leads the global mission for better air quality and healthier, more livable cities in Asia. We reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in 1000+ cities in Asia through science-based policies and programs that cover air quality, transport and industrial emissions and energy use.
About World Environment Day:
World Environment Day is the single largest celebration of our environment each year,
Since it began in 1972, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated across the globe.
For more information, visit www.worldenvironmentday.global
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