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Partnering with India on Air Quality

FILE - Vendors selling drinks stand beside vehicles near the India Gate war memorial on a smoggy day in New Delhi, Feb. 1, 2013.
FILE - Vendors selling drinks stand beside vehicles near the India Gate war memorial on a smoggy day in New Delhi, Feb. 1, 2013.

Recent Indo-U.S. Workshop in New Delhi explored bilateral research opportunities to address air quality and health issues.

Partnering with India on Air Quality
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Earlier this year, at the second U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue in New Delhi, the two countries reiterated their shared commitment to advance mutual prosperity, global peace, and stability.

In the joint statement issued at the conclusion of the meeting, the United States and India noted “progress and opportunities in the bilateral cooperation on resilience, air quality, forestry and science and technology fellowships under the Joint Working Group.”

In the support of the joint statement, the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum, the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sponsored the Indo-U.S. Workshop to Explore Bilateral Research Opportunities to Address Air Quality and Health Issues earlier this month in New Delhi, the same week that record air pollution in New Delhi was making international news headlines.

Srikanth Nadadur, the workshop’s initiator and primary organizer, laid the groundwork for the gathering during his tenure as a U.S. Embassy in New Delhi Science Fellow in the fall of 2015.

Guest of Honor Jairam Ramesh, Member of the Indian Parliament (or the Rajya Sabha), applauded the scientists for their efforts to study ambient air pollution, particularly by addressing crop residue burning, and highlighted the importance of addressing water, chemical, and indoor air pollution.

Representatives of the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi and the NYU School of Medicine addressed the importance of creating, maintaining, and expanding bilateral research on these urgent issues.

The workshop reviewed air quality and health research conducted by scientists in India and the United States. Researchers at top Indian research institutes presented on the status of air pollution population studies conducted in India.

The workshop also included break-out sessions on air quality and health, and an exposure assessment. A panel reviewed the draft recommendations produced by the workshop and made recommendations to bolster the report that will be forwarded to the appropriate government points of contact for consideration.

The workshop underscored the importance of a clean and healthy environment, recognized by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during President Obama’s visit to India in January 2015.

It also highlighted the real opportunities for air quality cooperation and demonstrated the critical role of science in advancing the economic development and well being of people in both countries, as the two sides affirmed in August 2016.