Air pollution does not respect borders, regional cooperation required: Experts
New Delhi [India], July 31 (ANI): Underlining that Air pollution does not respect borders be it cities states or countries, experts from various South Asian countries have called for regional collaboration with the data creating models to improve the air qualities.
New Delhi [India], July 31 (ANI): Underlining that air pollution does not respect borders be it cities, states or countries, experts from various South Asian countries have called for regional cooperation with the data creating models to improve the air qualities.
A webinar ‘Air Qualities in South Asia: Opportunities and Challenge’ took place on Thursday during which top experts from the US, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan talked about air quality in South Asia and discussed a roadmap towards cleaner air in South Asia.
Speaking during the webinar, Michael Greenstone, Director of Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) said that air pollution causes people to lead shorter and sicker lives, adding that average Indian would live 5.2 years longer if air qualities are brought with compliance to the standard set by World Health Organisation.
Calling particulate air pollution as the single greatest threat, Greenstone said: “Air pollution causes people to lead shorter and sicker lives. 5.5 billion people currently live in areas that exceed the WHO safe guidelines for small-particulate pollution. Across the entire planet, an average person loses 1.9 years of life expectancy to particulate air pollution that is more than what people lose from smoking.”
Greenstone said: “In India which is the second most polluted country in the world, an average person would live 5.2 years longer if air qualities are brought with the WHO standard”
Similarly, average life expectancy in countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal could go up by 6 years, 2.8 years and 4.6 years respectively if the WHO guidelines were met, he said.
Making the opening remarks during the webinar, Minister Counsellor for Public Affairs, US Embassy, David Kennedy, said that improving air qualities requires cooperation from within the countries and across regions
“Air pollution does not respect borders be it cities, states or countries. Improving air qualities requires collaboration from within the countries and across regions. It requires consistent long term focus, actions and attention by all section of societies–policymakers, health professionals, frontline activists media students and every member of the public,” he said.
Kennedy said that the US government has partnered with India on strengthening health systems.
“The United States and India have a very close relationship, anchored at the mutual trust, shared interests, goodwill and robust engagement in our citizens. The engagement between India and the US focuses on better monitoring of data on air pollution,” he said.
Other speakers who spoke during the webinar are Ranil Dhammapala, Air Quality Fellow, U.S. Embassy, Colombo, Sri Lanka; Christopher Commins, Economic Officer, Economic, Environment, science & technology section, U.S. Embassy, New Delhi; Abid Omar, Founder, Pakistan Air Quality Initiative, Karachi. The webinar was organised by Lung Care Foundation.
Dhammapala said that there is a strong indication that Artificial Intelligence is going to revolutionise air quality monitoring.
“Strong indication of data generated using AI is going to revolutionise air quality monitoring and help people make an informed decision,” said Ranil Dhammapala.
Meanwhile, Commins said that effects of lockdown due to COVID19 pandemic have given “us hope that change can occur and has reinforced technology as a means for it to happen”.
Abid Omar stressed that there is a need for regional collaborations with the data creating models and have directly comparable transboundary data.
“We need regional collaborations with the data creating models and have directly comparable transboundary data. We can then go forward towards making richer model about the flow of particulate matter pollution,” Omar said. (ANI)