CERCA hosts Roundtable on Air Quality at IIT Delhi

Centre of Excellence for Research on Clean Air (CERCA), IIT Delhi hosted a roundtable on Air Quality at the institute.

Ambassador Marcia Bernicat, who is currently Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Oceans, and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, was part of the roundtable.

Along with Ambassador Bernicat, Prof. V Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi; Prof BR Mehta, Dean, IRD; Mr. Arun Duggal, Co-Chairman, CERCA, and Prof Mukesh Khare, Coordinator, CERCA participated in the Roundtable which was held on May 9, 2019.

CERCA’s vision is to contribute to restoring Blue Skies and improving Air Quality in Delhi/ NCR and other cities in India through scientific research and as a Think Tank.

Addressing the roundtable, Ambassador Marcia Bernicat focused on the need of data gathering, raising awareness and role of democracy and law to resolve the issues related to air quality.

Prof V. Ramgopal Rao said that many researchers at IIT Delhi are working on the subject of air quality and CERCA provides them a platform to connect with the government for the implementation of research output for developing and refining government’s air pollution abatement plans and policy decisions.

He added, “CERCA is providing opportunities to researchers and people are coming together to address the issue of air pollution. Positive changes can be seen at this stage. CERCA is slowly and steadily making progress in addressing the air quality issue in Delhi.”

Mr. Arun Duggal, an IITD alumnus, has provided initial funding for CERCA and was the prime architect of the event that was attended by the Advisory committee members of CERCA and other dignitaries.

Mr. Duggal said: CERCA has made significant progress in over one year. Prof. Alan Hedge of Cornell University, a world-renowned expert in air pollution has joined CERCA as an honorary research fellow. The government has selected IIT Delhi to help in the implementation of national clean air plan in the state of Haryana under Prof. Mayank Kumar’s leadership.”

He added, “IIT Delhi should offer short term course on best practices on construction management and develop a short term training programme for State/City level government officials for developing clean air plan for capacity building and public awareness”.

Prof BR Mehta, Dean, IRD described CERCA as a model Centre of Excellence (CoE) for all other CoEs at IIT Delhi.

Dr. Sumit Sharma, from TERI made a presentation on air quality outlook which indicated that with additional measures taken by the Government, it may be possible to achieve the annual average PM2.5 of 36 µg/m3 from current level of 110 µg/m3. In addition, Mr. Ashish Dhawan founder of Ashoka University, Mr. Satyendra Kumar from MoEFCC and Ms. Vaishali Nigam Sinha and Ms. Bharti Ramola Gupta of advisory committee members of CERCA suggested additional measures to improve air quality.

CERCA’s missions include:

  • To identify initiatives and policies in India and internationally which have been effective for sustained ambient air quality improvement.
  • Provide scientific information and objective feedback on effectiveness of various clean air programmes to Government policy makers.
  • Assist in setting Goals and Pathways for achieving satisfactory ambient air quality in Delhi/NCR and other cities in India.
  • Develop practical and effective solutions for short, medium and long term for improvement in ambient air quality.
  • To support multidisciplinary and multi institution research projects for improving ambient air quality and Indoor air quality.
  • Help enhance public understanding and participation promoting Clean Air initiatives.
  • Exchange learnings and share knowledge with other countries facing air pollution problems.
  • Collaborate with Industry on Clean Air and emission reduction equipment initiatives and Indoor Air quality improvement programs