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‘South cities need to meet air-quality challenges’

CITIES in the south need second generation action, including technology leapfrog, scaling up of public transport, integrated multi-modal transport options, car restraints and walking for clean air to meet air quality challenges, a meeting on air quality and mobility has observed.
The first India-Africa dialogue and media briefing on air quality and mobility noted that for cities in Africa and India, controlling traffic congestion, improving urban air quality, and protecting sustainable urban commuting practices are some of the toughest challenges.
“The cities in the region, while having made some significant strides in meeting air quality challenges, face newer challenges,” the meeting observed in a statement issued Friday.
The one-day dialogue was organised by the leading Indian think tank Centre for Science and environment (CSE) and the Nairobi-based Media for Environment, Science, Health and agriculture (MESHA) Kenya.
The meeting noted that cities should strengthen the monitoring grid, implement an air quality index system and health advisory for informing people about ill effects of poor air quality.
It also observed the need to tighten emission to ensure that pollutants are cut at source and accelerate upward harmonisation of emission standards and create a schedule for introducing tighter emission standards.
The meeting also called on cities to integrate bus, cycling, walking and para-transit systems.
It also advised that infrastructure funding must be conditional so that investments are linked to explicit pedestrian and cycling plans.
The meeting noted that public transport plans must include pedestrian plan for multi-modal integration and that there is need for a zero tolerance policy for road traffic accidents.

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