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August 23, 2023 4:16 PM IST

India Clean Air Summit begins in Bengaluru, focusing on air pollution & meeting SDGs

India | Pollution | clean air | India Clean Air Summit | Clean Air Summit | Air Pollution

The fifth India Clean Air Summit (ICAS) began in Bengaluru at the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy’s flagship event on air pollution. The three-day Summit, being held from 23–25 August, will dig deep into how air pollution and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) interact with each other.

The Summit aims to focus on understanding the impact of climate change on air pollution in the light of SDGs and the actions required to deal with it. Furthermore, experts and policy advisors will be deliberating on the formidable obstacles confronting India’s ambitious air pollution reduction plan during the three-day event.

“The gathering intends to align clean air goals with climate policies and discuss how democratising air pollution data can enable improved citizen science,” said a note from the event organiser, Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy.

according to the Annual World Air Quality Report released by Swiss air quality technology company, IQAir, India ranks eighth in the list of countries with the worst air quality index and 12 of the 15 most polluted cities in Central and South Asia are in India.

The 5th Annual World Air Quality Report released by IQAir, states that roughly 60% of cities in India included in the report recorded annual PM2.5 levels at least seven times higher than the WHO guidelines.

Further, according to the report, Chad, Iraq, Pakistan, Bahrain, and Bangladesh being the five most polluted countries in 2022.

The levels of the pollutant PM 2.5 are often well above the World Health Organisation’s recommended level of exposure (often over 5 times higher) which leads to serious respiratory problem for those exposed to it. This includes both outside and household air pollution.

Thermal power plants, pollution from vehicles, industrial emissions, and the burning of wood and dirty fuels for cooking and heating are some of the main causes of air pollution in India.

Serious health damages can be done due to air pollution. When we breathe in air pollutants, they can enter our bloodstream and contribute to coughing or itchy eyes and cause or worsen many breathing and lung diseases, leading to hospitalizations, cancer, or even premature death.

India has launched an ambitious National Clean Air Program to reduce particulate matter pollution by 30% by 2024. Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur has collaborated with the Department of Environment, Forest & Climate Change [and others], supported by Clean Air Fund, to enable real time measures to mitigate and plug pollution sources.

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