The guide draws on lessons learned from successful urban clean air initiatives including New York City, Beijing, Bangkok and Hong Kong. For example, interventions by the New York City and state governments saw a 70% reduction in sulphur dioxide levels in just five years. Best practices and progress from cities in early phases of air quality management and political commitment, such as Battambang and Accra, are also highlighted. In addition, the guide addresses the roles of cities in local action as well as regional, state and national policy and implementation, said Vital Strategies officials.
The publication provides a step-by-step approach for city governments, outlining four critical Priority-areas for action: Monitoring air quality; assessing emissions and sources; expanding data access and use; and engaging governments and partners to develop and implement action plans.
“Cities, centres of creative governance, intellectual and civic life, are also home to growing civil society movements pressing for clean air and other environmental improvements,” said Daniel Kass, Senior Vice President for Environmental Health at Vital Strategies. “The guide can help local governments respond to these demands with good science, logical planning and inclusive and transparent action. Each year, air pollution takes a huge public health toll and more children experience harm that can affect their future health and productivity. City governments can be powerful agents of change that speeds progress towards clean and healthy air for all.”
“Unless India urgently adopts long-term strategies to address air pollution effectively, we are doomed to repeat the associated health crisis of this past season year after year,” said Dr Sarath Guttikunda, a lead contributor to the guide and head of urbanemissions.info, a leading repository of air quality information in India and the region. “This guide identifies recent data and resources that each city can use to address their challenges, both shared and unique, and make rapid progress,” he added.