University of Birmingham experts call for classifying air pollution as a ‘disaster’ in Delhi, other regions

Air pollution in Delhi
Air pollution in Delhi

University of Birmingham experts proposed that air pollution be treated as a disaster in the same way as natural events such as earthquakes and forest fires. They call for a new approach to help resolve health, economic and social problems associated with air pollution in Delhi and other similarly polluted regions. The experts from the university have joined the forces with policymakers and researchers in India to pitch for this purpose.

Mukesh Khare from IIT-Delhi, William Avis and Francis Pope from the University of Birmingham called for air quality metrics to be incorporated into 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. They urged that access to clean air be considered as a basic human right.

The researchers also highlight the health threat to about 46,000 people live and work on the streets of Delhi. “Thousands of men, women and children at risk of serious illness and death because of their constant exposure to dangerous levels of air pollution,” a statement issued by the University stated.

“Air pollution kills millions and costs the world economy billions – tackling the problem is not just a technological issue, but a social-economic and social-political challenge that requires a new approach, said
Professor Francis Pope, from the University of Birmingham.

“The University of Birmingham is working with partners in India, Africa and Asia to help understand how our cities can tackle problems caused by air pollution. Many conference delegates were surprised there is no SDG specific to clean air, but there is plenty of scope to include clean air action many of the SDGs.”

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