The head of the Bengaluru's civic body said the levels of pollutants like nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide or that of PM2.5 and PM10 are "almost on the fringe" in Bengaluru. "But we have to take corrective action so that for the present and future generations - it is a better place to live in," BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad told NDTV.
The city has signed a memorandum of understanding with the C40 network to work together to tackle air pollution. "We had signed with the Mayor of London (Sadiq Khan). They are coordinating C40 network of a group of 20 global cities as far as the air pollution is concerned," Mr Prasad said.
As part of the agreement, experts from different cities around the world can share their advice with Bengaluru and show what they have done in their cities to tackle air pollution.
The Deputy Executive Director of the C40 group - who was in Bengaluru recently - said the C40 network will help cities improve the lives of its residents by helping them deliver measures in transport, buildings, renewable energy and waste management. "By doing this we can help cities reduce emissions from vehicles, by procuring electric buses. Support cities in implementing renewable energy solutions, so that they don't have to rely on coal and other forms of fossil fuels," Kevin Austin told NDTV.
"80 per cent of urban dwellers around the world live in excess of the World Health Organisation limits. And air quality prematurely kills about four and a half million people a year. It is a real problem around the world - one that cities can really deal with," he said.
Mr Austin said, "I have seen the Tender SURE project which is a fantastic example of how you can re-design the streets to make them far more accessible for pedestrians... to make them more effective for utilities by putting them under the pavements rather than streets and by stopping illegal parking to make sure the city flows more effectively. And many cities around the world can learn from the example here."
The top C40 official said the issues faced by Bengaluru - like waste management, improving the efficiency of buildings with solar panels and transport - had much in common with other cities spread across different continents.
"But other cities in the C40 network like Beijing, Los Angeles, London all experience very significant issues with air quality which is why earlier this week the mayor of Bengaluru and the mayor of London jointly launched the Air Quality Network and they are going to be leaders in the world on how to drive this agenda forward," Kevin Austin said.
Next year, Bengaluru will host a workshop for representatives of cities around the world to allow them to show and exchange information.
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