CERCA, IITD organises workshop on Air Quality: The Path to Clean Air – Reducing Fine PM Concentrations 


New Delhi: The Centre of Excellence for Research on Clean Air (CERCA) ever since its inauguration at IIT Delhi by Lt Governor of Delhi Sh Anil Baijal has been undertaking multidisciplinary research projects on Air pollution and is committed to improving Air Quality in Delhi/ NCR and other cities in India. Besides providing scientific information to policy makers, the centre also provides feedback on the effectiveness of various pollution management programmes.
On June 25th, 2019, CERCA organized a Workshop on Air Quality “The Path to Clean Air – Reducing Fine Particulate Matter (PM) Concentrations” at IIT Delhi in association with the US Embassy in India.
The Workshop brought together speakers from the MoEF&CC, DPCC, senior researchers from IIT Delhi, India Paryavaran Sahayak Foundation, Chakr Innovations, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) USA and Health Effects Institute (HEI) USA to deliberate on the current status of air pollution in Delhi/NCR, their sources and the measures required to combat air pollution.
A unique feature of the workshop was sharing of the US success story in tackling air pollution by the US Science Envoy Dr. James Schauer, Professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who was the key note speaker having extensive experience in source apportionment and whose work focuses on developing a quantitative understanding of the origin of air pollution.Prof Sagnik Dey from the Centre of Atmospheric Sciences at IIT Delhi, who is also Coordinator, CERCA, while highlighting the efforts being made by the centre in promoting scientific research in the area of clean air also informed about the various research projects undertaken and financed by CERCA such as:
A) Select study of air pollution reduction programs around the world: Governance and Implementation Issues B) Assessment and prediction of the air-quality using dynamically downscaled high resolution data from numerical models C) Monitoring Air Pollution in Delhi NCR using a Hybrid Approach: Feedback for Policy D) Granular Mapping of Air Pollution levels all over Delhi by using monitors mounted on 100 public transportation buses travelling all over Delhi.
Prof Dey summarized the following key messages that the workshop delivered:
a) PM speciation monitoring network is required in Indiab) Public engagement is critical in ensuring the success of the implementation of NCAPc) Advanced technological controls on mobile (e.g. vehicles) and point (e.g. power plants, brick-kilns)d) Scientific investment needs to be enhanced significantlye) Use of innovative approach – usage of satellite data, big data and machine learning in air pollution management
Prof. B R Mehta, Dean (R&D), while addressing the participants in the workshop highlighted the usefulness and relevance of the workshop in the Indian context as India is a fast developing economy and is facing almost similar challenges that were faced by the US once.
Prof Mehta said, “The learning as to how the US steered its way through this complex issue would be the learning and the take away from this workshop.”
Mr Arun Duggal, Founder of CERCA and former IIT Delhi Alum while speaking on the sidelines of the workshop said that India too can successfully fight the complex issue of Air Pollution.
“The Great London Smog of 1952 and the smog laden US Cities of 1960s and 1970s remind us that India’s position is not unique. However, we can choose to clean up our acts subsequent to development or choose to adopt clean development at the beginning itself. The US experience demonstrates that clear blue skies can coexist along with economic and industrial development,” Mr Duggal said.
The workshop covered various topics ranging from Achieving Clean Air: The Experience of the US Clean Air Act,  Control of Emissions from Power plants, Air Pollution and source apportionment – Delhi case study NCAP and the role of MoEF&CC and CPCB, Delhi  Air Pollution and Control Efforts, Near-continuous PM2.5 chemical speciation and source apportionment, Agricultural Burning – causes, enforcement mechanisms, alternatives, areas for collaboration, Fighting Air Pollution Through Innovation, Implementing Solutions for Abatement of Air Pollution: Integrated Approach and Innovations, Effective implementation of Air Quality Action plans, Vehicles emissions – their role and best cleaner-vehicle policies, Electric vehicle policy and the future – buses, long distance trucking, last mile connectivity and monitoring of air pollution from space using satellite data.