Prakriti Group, Nepal Energy and Environment Development Services (NEEDS) and Gurukul Global Knowledge Foundation jointly held a virtual International Seminar, discussing and debating on ongoing climate crisis and burning problem of air pollution in India, Nepal and Bangladesh.
The seminar was on Air Pollution & Climate Change: Research, Mitigation, Technologies and Policy Making as Celebration of World Environment Month. Organised by Prakriti Ecotech, under its parent organisation, Prakriti Group of Companies, in alliance with NEET and Gurukul Global Knowledge Foundation, the seminar focused on the sharing of results from different research works undertaken on air pollution in these neighbouring nations of Indian Sub-Continent to build an International Policy and innovation of new technologies to control air pollution and to mitigate the effects of anthropogenic climate change.
Prof PB Sharma, Vice Chancellor of Amity University Haryana, Founder Vice Chancellor, Rajiv Gandhi Proud Proudyogiki Vishwavidyalaya and Delhi Technological University and Former President of the Association of Indian Universities inaugurated the seminar with his opening remark. The other participants include Ganesh Shah, Former Minister for Environment, Science & Technology, Government of Nepal; Shubansh Tiwari, Founder President of Prakriti Group; Bhupendra Das, Chairperson of NEEDS and others.
The panel consisted of Prof SK Thyagi, Former Additional Director, Central Pollution Control Board, Government of India; Dr. Markandey Rai, Senior Advisor of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat); Prof VK Goswami, Visiting Scientist of UNIDO, ICPT-Italy, WMO, ICAO, NCAR & NOAA (NASA) and Ex-Vice Chancellor of Sangam University and Sunrise University; Wing Commander (Retired) and Founder President of ‘Environment & Peace Foundation, Prof Dr. Rejina Mesky Byanju who is also the Head of CDES, Tribhuvan University at Kathmandu in Nepal; Dr. Jagbandhu Panda, Associate Proffesor of NIT Raurkela; Dr. Ajay Nagpure, Head of Air Pollution in the Sustainable Cities Programme World Research Institute, Government of India; Dr. Jitendra K Nagar, General Secretary, Environment and Social Development Association (ESDA); Prem Pokhrel, Climate and Carbon Financing Expoert at the Expert Alternative Energy Promotion Centre, Ministry of Energy, Water Resources & Irrigation, Government of Nepal; Dr. Alok S Gautam, Assistant Professor at HNB Garhwal Central University; Prof Abdus Salam, Professor at the Department of Chemistry, University of Dhaka in Bangladesh and Alok Gupta, SV, Prakriti Group and Drector of Prakiti Ecotech.
The speakers say as the air pollution is not static-the aerosols, green house gases, dust and severl other components travels hundreds of kilometres through winds, there for it is quite pertinent to form multinational policies by sharing research and technology, especially, if the countries are boundry sharing developing nations such as India, Nepal and Bangladesh.
Citing the former US President John F Kennedy, Man belongs to earth; earth does not belong to Man,’ Prof PB Sharma said: ‘If we do not take care of mother earth, we cannot survive. Good quality of water and air are of paramount importance for our survival. Therefore, we must pay attention to these aspects. We have to prepare ourselves and younger generation to save mother earth using science and technology, it will be helpful for future era to preserve the environment.”
Reminescing his choldhood days, Prof Sharma continued: “We re-used the waste for our need. We create humongous amount of waste which causes harm to the environment. We have to recycle the waste.”
Stating that COVID-19 is the wake-up call, Prof Sharma said that the condition of rivers too are really pathetic, including the Holy City of Varanasi. “We (scientists) have to stepup from the laboratory to help earth to resolve these issues. The present pandemic reminds us that nature has the requisite poer to heal itself, if we do not catalyze the process of pollution. We have to learn the lesson from this pandemic. We need to pay ten times more attention to this. We have to return to the basics and to think what is important for our environment. Spirituality and science have to go work in tandem for a better future. When we work relentlessly on doing justice to climate, without leaving anyone behind, going forward, everyone will get a whiff of fresh air to breath, pure water to drink and healthy food to eat. The society in which prosperity and happiness will co-exist. We have to come forward for green and bright future,” Sharma added.
Ganesh Shah emphasised the need for the collaboration of institutions and nations in terms of sharing the R&D and to come up with solutions to mitigate the existing issues with environment, which is raising a question mark on human existence in future.
Prof Tyagi spoke about global warming, climate change and some specific mitigative schemes initiated by India.
prof Rejina Byanju said: “Transport sector is witnessing exponential growth across the globe in line with the urban and socio-economic growth, which is contributing to severe air pollution, which is of much concern mainly due to bad air quality, human exposure, public health, climate change and visibility reduction.”
Dr. J Panda spoke about the burgeoning vehicle induced polution and emphasised the need to quickly shifting to electric vehicle technology.
Bhupendra Das said: “According to Health Effect Institute, Nepal ranked second most polluted country in the workd in terms of pariculate matter 2.5 concentrations. Almost 50% of Asian countries have PM2.5 concentration ranging from 62.6-83.3ug/m3. Satellite detected 41,000 fire hotspots in Nepal between January 1, 2021 and Apritl 7, 2021. India and Nepal have almost same pollution concentration. Air pollution is the fourth leading risk factor for early death worldwide in 2019 surpassed only by high blood pressure. PM2.5 is now considered as highest threat. Annual death due to PM2.5 in 2019 were 9,80,000 (India) and 22,000 (Nepal).”
Dr. Ajay Nagpure, while speaking about clean air for children, said: “Children breath more rapidly than adults and so absorb more pollutants. Air pollution exposure leads to 16 lakh premature death in 2019. An estimated 6% of children suffer from asthma in India (As per Global Asthma Report).”
Dr. Jithendra Nagar spoke abou the high concentration of air pollution in the metro cities, while Prem Pokhrel highlighted the initiatives taken by AEPC and their future plans. Prof Abdus Salam spoke about major sources of air pollution in Bangladesh. Dr. Alok Sagar Gautam pointed out the air quality status in the Himalayan region of Uttarakhand in India.
Alok Gupta addressed about the indoor air pollution and mitigation technologies. Apart from ambient and outdoor air pollution, the indoor air pollution issue als orequires high consideration, he said.
“There is no single technology or filter that can clean all pollution from the air. Impuruties in indoor air cause symptons such as cold, cough, fatigue, eye irritation, asthma, skin issue and now we have COVID-19 as well.”
Gupta also spoke about various technologies for indoor air pollution mitigation such as framed fibre filters, UV light, electronic charging fields in a collector tube and more.
Shubhansh Tiwari threw light on the geologic history of the earth and further explained how the climate change was always an ultimate reason for all the five mass extinctions. Tiwari said that the mass in case of earlier mass extinction, the climate changed naturally. But now, what with the anthropogenic activities which are catalyzing the process of natural climate change and is further making it anthropogenic climate change.
“The nature will change the climate and balance everything. See how nature detoxified everything from pollution during the last year’s global lockdown.
Quoting the popular novel and movie, Jurassic park, Tiwari said: “We have to understand that the planet is not in jeopardy, rather we are in jeopardy. Therefore, we have to solve this problem for our own existence and not for anyone else. All in all, previous mass extinctions, 96% of species were extinct. Going forward, even if many a species get extinct, nothing will happen to the planet. The life will still be present in some other form, but maybe we will not be there. The humans are the only species of the Blue Planet in complete geological history which is causing the sixth mass extinction and going to extinct itself. For me, it is highly questionable now to say, the Humans are the most intelligent species of the earth.”