Healthy Air Coalition Bengaluru to champion the cause of clean air

Published - April 06, 2019 12:46 am IST - Bengaluru

In a bid to keep a check on the air quality in Bengaluru, ‘Healthy Air Coalition Bengaluru’, a platform led by experts and individuals from the health sector, along with environmentalists, affected individuals and concerned citizens, was launched here on Friday.

The initiative will see 40 air quality monitoring devices installed in 15 locations across the city, including the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) head office and public healthcare and maternity centres operational under the BBMP.

“Bengaluru is the first major Indian city to join the global BreatheLife campaign, a collaboration with the World Health Organisation. Access to data is key to understanding air quality, and the availability of data on a centralised platform open to the public is the need of the hour. We are keen to understand the necessary interventions possible at the local level for improving the health of the public,” said D. Randeep, Special Commissioner (Solid Waste Management), BBMP.

“Over the years, Bengaluru has seen a spike in vehicular emissions, resulting in reduced lung capacity and breathing difficulties in children. The policy design and interventions on air pollution need to be geared towards reducing exposure level of individuals and safeguarding the health of citizens. With the help of the installed network of air quality devices, we hope to understand and analyse the risk of exposure to air pollution in the city,” said George A. D’Souza, Dean, St. John’s Medical College.

Aishwarya Sudhir, Air Quality programme lead, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), which coordinates the coalition in collaboration with St. John’s Research Institute, said air pollution planning and mitigation in the country has been largely limited to improving monitoring and data collection with very little emphasis on the associated health impacts. “For the data to translate into action, the health sector needs to step in as an important stakeholder in addressing the issue of air pollution, and we believe that through this initiative we will be able to prioritise public health and place it at the centre of air quality planning and mitigation in the city,” she said.

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