Public debate over the quality of Delhi's air reliably spikes every winter, along with the readings from air quality monitors. However, public discussion tends to rapidly taper off, even as the air quality remains consistently bad.
The Initiative on Climate, Energy and Environment (ICEE) at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) announces a seminar series - Clearing the Air? Seminar Series on Delhi's Air Pollution - to promote sustained and informed public understanding around the data, impacts, sources and policy challenges involved in clearing Delhi's air. While we will focus on the Delhi context, the series will also reflect the fact that the problem extends far beyond Delhi. The seminar series will present the work of experts in a range of areas, to help promote informed public discussion about what changes are needed, what is possible, and how to get it done. Clearing the air in terms of knowledge and public information, we hope, will make a small contribution toward actually clearing Delhi's air.
About the talk: Delhi is in the midst of its annual debate on air pollution. How much do we know about Delhi's pollution load, and is that information adequate for policy making? In addition, the debate on air quality is limited to conditions in these big cities (like Delhi) even though most of India’s population live in smaller towns and there is little by way of measurements or an assessment of sources contributing to local air pollution problems, or health impacts associated with these pollution levels. The Air Pollution Knowledge Assessment (APnA) city program, covering 20 cities in 2016-17, is an attempt to fill this lacuna of information, with an objective to create a baseline database for air pollution in Indian cities to inform policymakers as they chart out strategies to improve air quality. Finally, despite all these efforts, what are the continued shortcomings and gaps in knowledge that are obstacles to improving the air around Delhi and other population centres in India?
About the Speaker: Dr Sarath Guttikunda is the founder/director of UrbanEmissions.Info (UEinfo, India), is a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellow; and a TED fellow. His main research interest is air quality analysis at urban, regional, and global scales and finding ways to bridge the gap between science, policy, and public awareness. He is the developer of the SIM-air (Simple Interactive Models for Better Air Quality) family of tools, with applications in Asian, African, and Latin American cities, capable of assessing short- and long- term air pollution scenarios in a multi-pollutant environment. In 2016, UEinfo launched two public portals DelhiAirQuality.Info and IndiaAirQuality.Info, disseminating modeled forecasts of air quality and source contributions for the next 3 days; and other policy relevant information for Delhi and India and in 2017, they launched the APnA city program aimed at building high resolution emissions and pollution databases for Indian cities. Dr Guttikunda received his PhD from the University of Iowa (2002); Bachelors in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (1997).
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CPR's ICEE produces research, informs public opinion and generates debate on climate, energy and environment policy at international, national and sub-national levels. Our goal is to enhance policy outcomes through informed research and policy dialogue within India and internationally.