The United States and India are strengthening their cooperation on environmental protection, public health, and economic development. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson says the memorandum of understanding he recently renewed with Indian Minister of Environment and Forests Andimuthu Raja will improve India's air and water quality and deal with hazardous waste.
During the past five years, the U.S. and India have worked together on a number of environmental measures that also have positive health and economic benefits. In collaboration with the California Air Resources Board, the Indian city of Pune developed an air-quality management plan. The plan has been so successful that six other Indian cities are now implementing similar plans.
In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working with Pune and the Indian state of Maharashtra, through the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles, to demonstrate technology that reduces air pollution from diesel buses and auto-rickshaws. The U.S. is also working with the World Health Organization and Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewage Board on methods to prevent drinking water contamination.
The Methane to Markets Partnership, of which India is a charter member, focuses on reducing global methane emissions by promoting its cost-effective recovery. The Partnership is working with governments, civil society, International Financial Institutions, and the private sector to capture methane emissions from landfills, agricultural waste, and coal mines, and turn this potentially dangerous and environmentally harmful waste into sources of energy and wealth.
India is one of the seven largest emitters of methane in the world. "Much of this methane can be economically recovered and sold as a clean, reliable, and inexpensive source of energy," says Mr. Johnson. Methane, he says, can provide an environmentally friendly alternative to coal, which now generates over half of India's electrical power. Working with India's national and state governments and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce, the U.S., says Mr. Johnson, looks forward to developing "projects that reduce methane emissions while bringing more clean energy to markets."
"The United States and India share in the commitment of being good global neighbors," Mr. Johnson said. He added that protection of the environment "cannot be addressed by one or even a hand-full of nations." The effort must be global.