New Delhi (NVI): United Nations Environment Assembly together with other global entities are coming together for increased concerted action to address the extreme air pollution episodes and deteriorating air quality, particularly in Asia-Pacific region, said United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Global political momentum is supported by regional political processes that recognize health and the environment as a priority in Asia and the Pacific. These are a good foundation for taking more decisive action, UNEP says.
This year the Indian government joined the Climate and Clean Air Coalition on the occasion of World Environment Day. India’s Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, stated then that India will work to “adopt cleaner energy, sustainable production and consumption patterns” as well as “environment-friendly transport, agriculture, industry and waste management to promote clean air”.
The current extreme air pollution episodes in Asia are part of a serious, persistent, global air pollution problem, which involves the transport and agricultural sectors, household energy, industry as well as waste management practices.
It is, therefore, imperative that coordinated efforts led by local and national governments and supported by existing tools and international experience take place in order to protect ourselves, our economies and our planet from the detrimental effects of this growing environmental threat, the UN environment watchdog said.
With Asia having experienced the most dramatic episodes of air pollution in recent years, many studies have focused on regional solutions. In 2016, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition commissioned a report to find solutions to air pollution in Indian cities. The report Breathing Cleaner Air: Ten Scalable Solutions for Indian Cities was led by a task force of Indian and international experts. It outlined solutions that can significantly reduce air pollution in the country, including preventing agricultural open burning by turning crop residue into a resource to produce fuel for electricity generation.
A similar report focusing on regional solutions was published by UNEP and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition last year called Air Pollution in Asia and the Pacific: Science-based Solutions, detailing 25 policy and technological measures that will deliver benefits across sectors, said UNEP.
It represented the first comprehensive scientific assessment of the air pollution outlook in Asia and the Pacific and highlighted that adopting the 25 recommended measures could lead to a reduction in premature mortality in the region by one third, helping to avoid 2 million premature deaths from indoor air pollution per year, the UNEP further added.