Clean Air for Blue Skies
PUNE: On the occasion of the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies, Maharshi Karve StreeS hikshan Sanstha’s, Dr.Bhanuben Nanavati College of Architecture’s Department of Environmental Architecture and Planning (DEAP) organized a webinar ‘Clean Air- Inside Out’. Dr.Prasad Modak, Environmental Management Centre LLP and Ekonnect Knowledge Foundation, Prarthana Borah, India Director, Clean Air Asia, and Dr.Victor Shinde, Water Management Specialist (NIUA) were the speakers for this webinar and discussed how ‘Integrated Approach is necessary to address Air pollution’. Dr.Anurag Kashyap, Principal, BNCA took lead in organizing the session.
Dr.Sujata Karve, Professor, Head of Department (EA), BNCA moderated the webinar, Prof. Namrata Dhamankar made introductory remarks and Professor Prajakta Kulkarni co-ordinated on the occasion.
Namrata Dhamankar, welcomed the eminent speakers and said the very first International Day of Clean Air for blue skies will be held on September 7th, 2020. The day aims to raise public awareness at all levels- individual, community, corporate, and government—that clean air is important for health, productivity, the economy, and the environment. DEAP students have been working on this subject and have also written research papers on indoor air quality and worked on air quality on the city environment in their planning studies.
Dr.Prasad Modak, Environmental Management Centre LLP, and Director Ekonnect Knowledge Foundation discussed the standard cycle of air quality management which involved many components including public involvement. Along with air quality, we need to focus on other components like water management, urban green, climate, etc. Managing urban environmental quality is a complex subject. The reason it becomes complex is that there is no defined air quality manager for the city. While we have numerous plans developed for polluted cities, in spite of being good the implementation of it is a huge task of how to coordinate between multiple agencies. In this perspective he further defined five key points- Managing air quality needs mobility expansive consideration, essentially a ‘systems thinking’ is needed. Do we have to limit air quality, Urban air pollution challenges cannot be addressed unless we expand the scope beyond the city boundaries, Embedding climate change considerations in city air quality action plans is critical, Cities should follow circular principles. Circularity is critical for sound urban metabolism. Air quality is one component and the Action planning process must be participatory, blending with capacity building.
He concluded by adding points on indoor air quality. He said as people spend a considerable amount of time indoors, either at work or at home, malls or theatres indoor air quality plays a significant part in their general state of health. It is based on standards, codes, guidelines, engineering control, and source modification.
Speaking about the challenging and opportunity aspects of Air Quality management Prarthana Borah, India Director, Clean Air Asia said that the air quality management challenge is vague and we need to see it as an inter-sector approach. It is important to understand that air pollution is not something that can be solved overnight and all countries that have managed to achieve the problem have done it over a period of time. While addressing air pollution, an integrated approach is needed because along years, with the improvement of scientific knowledge and awareness, other effects related to air pollution were taken into account. Damage to the forest and human health became increasingly evident and it became clear, the causes of those effects were correlated among them and had to be addressed simultaneously. She further explained the three steps of opportunity including assessment, clean air action planning, and implementation, and also city air action plan- the role of youth.
Dr.VictorShinde, Sector Coordinator for Water and Environment, National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) shared his view on ‘Planning approaches for mitigating pollution’. Air pollution is a major global environmental risk to our health. While talking about the measures taken to address the problem, he said there is an increase in the number of air quality monitoring stations, an increase in green cover, regulations and policies by the government, and incentivizing low carbon mobility. We need to move away from reactive solutions to transformative solutions.
He further addressed the master planning thrust areas including systems approach to air pollution mitigation, Strategizing tree plantation, Re-imagining and Re-designing the urban form, Greening the built environment, Incentivizing green growth, and Nudging civic behavior.
The vote of thanks was proposed by Dr.SujataKarve, Professor, Head of Department (EA), BNCA.
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2014 The Global Indian New Network (TGINN)