US, India join hands to combat air pollution, climate change

NEW DELHI | Updated: 01 June, 2023 5:02 pm IST
Experts discussing climate action at a workshop in New Delhi on Thursday.

NEW DELHI: In a show of strong bilateral collaboration, the United States and the Delhi-based nonprofit Lung Care Foundation sponsored the “Conversations on US & India: Actions for Clean Air and Better Health” event on Thursday at the India International Center in New Delhi.

The half-day workshop, initiated by US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti, brought together over 75 leaders from civil society, policymakers, educators, healthcare professionals, journalists, and private sector representatives.

The event marked the successful conclusion of the Saaf Hawa Aur Nagrik – SHAN (Clean Air and the Citizen) campaign, a comprehensive and multilingual air quality public education initiative in Delhi-NCR. The Lung Care Foundation, with a $200,000 grant from the US Embassy, implemented the campaign, empowering individuals and communities with knowledge and tools to protect themselves from the detrimental impacts of air pollution while raising awareness about its contribution to the climate crisis.

Ambassador Garcetti emphasized the need for a bold agenda to address global climate change, stating, “To safeguard global peace and prosperity, we need a bold agenda to confront global climate change. There is no issue that is more fundamental to the well-being of all our peoples than access to clean air. As Ambassador, I will prioritize working with India to build green energy solutions and will support our growing bilateral effort to ensure a successful green energy transition.”

Lung Care Foundation founder Rajiv Khurana highlighted the success of the SHAN project, stating, “Implementing a multi-pronged communication strategy, the program deployed a range of community outreach activities.” These activities included engaging wall art, conversations and learning sessions with under-served communities, the establishment of a community volunteer task force, billboards, creative media, and collaborations with women’s groups and resident welfare associations. These diverse methods effectively reached target groups and increased their engagement in discussions and actions for clean air.

Shweta Narayan, a global climate and health campaigner for Health Care Without Harm, emphasized the importance of clean air as a fundamental right for all humanity. She stressed the need for collective effort and collaboration among governments, industries, civil society, and individuals to achieve clean air.

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