One million jobs needed for air quality management in India, says iFOREST report

Managing air pollution should be seen as an opportunity to build a green economy, report author suggests

Managing air pollution should be seen as an opportunity to build a green economy, report author suggests

India will need to train at least one million people over the next five years in air quality management. It will also create several thousand jobs in the public and private sectors to manage air pollution, according to a report published Wednesday by the thinktank International Forum for Environment, Sustainability and Technology (iFOREST).

The report was released to mark the third International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies, by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The report “Jobs for Clean Air: National Capacity Development Program for Air Quality Management” highlights the need for a national level program to develop the capacities of all stakeholders: cities, agencies state and central government, private sector, NGOs and media. — effectively tackle the problem of air pollution.

“Our report shows that we need to train at least one million people over the next five years in air quality management. It will also create tens of thousands of new jobs in the public and private sectors to plan, monitor, mitigate and control air pollutants,” said Chandra Bhushan, CEO of iFOREST and lead author of the report.

The report mapped the Air Quality Management (AQM) sector, which includes government agencies, organizations and industries, and is a first-of-its-kind attempt to map an environmental sector in the country. Through surveys, the report revealed that there are at least 2.8 lakh organizations and industries across the country that need personnel for AQM.

It highlighted 42 specific positions needed to control air pollution in the country, ranging from municipal workers involved in dust control and construction and demolition waste management, to transportation planning specialists. , modeling and forecasting of air quality.

A total of 2.2 million jobs are needed to manage air pollution in the country, of which about 1.6 million already exist. However, many of them have never been trained to manage air quality, the report notes.

There was no structured capacity building program in the AQM sector. “A major challenge in the AQM sector in India is that the people currently working in the sector have not been trained and a lot of needed jobs do not exist,” Bhushan said.

“Air pollution is an environmental problem, but we must also see its management as an opportunity to create new jobs and build a green economy,” he noted.

Towards clean cities

One of the main focuses of the Center for Pollution Control in India is the National Clean Air Program (NCAP) which aims to reduce particulate matter by 20-30% by 2024 compared to 2017. This will be largely focused on 131 of India’s most polluted cities, which will receive performance-based grants. So far, grants worth ₹6,424 crore have been released with ₹2,299 crore earmarked for the coming year.

These cities have developed municipal action plans to address various sources contributing to poor air quality, such as vehicles, road dust, construction, industries, thermal power plants, waste combustion, construction and demolition waste, etc. There was an overall improvement in fine particles. concentration in 95 cities, including 20 cities that meet national ambient air quality standards in 2021-22 compared to 2017, according to the Ministry of Environment.

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