Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London and Sampath Raj, Mayor of Bengaluru, have announced that the two cities will lead a global partnership on tackling air pollution.
London will also trial a new £750,000 sensor air quality monitoring system that will be used to analyse harmful pollution in up to 1,000 toxic hot spots across the city, including near schools, hospitals, construction sites and busy roads.
“Only by working together will we help beat this international health crisis and protect people from breathing in air so filthy it damages their lungs and causes diseases,” said Khan. “I’m doing everything in my power to clean up London’s lethal air, from introducing the world’s first toxicity charge for older more polluting cars and bringing forward the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, to cleaning up our bus and taxi fleet.”
Air pollution is an issue that affects people’s health and is responsible for premature deaths in every city in the world. Khan recently revealed World Health Organisation data that showed that all Londoners live in areas exceeding legal limits.
Indian cities also face air quality challenges especially in winter when crop stubble burning and weather conditions add to pollution from transport, domestic and power plant emissions. Recently this has caused periods of smog in Delhi with poor visibility and some emergency measures have been implemented around schools.
“Bengaluru’s population has grown from 3.5 million in 1985 to nearly 11 million today,” said Raj. “While this rapid growth has made the city the driver of economic growth in the region, creating millions of jobs and market opportunities, the city has also experienced deteriorating air quality as a result of increased traffic congestion and construction works. I am keeping a close eye on quality of life in the city and air quality is one such indicator that directly impacts the health and well-being of our citizens.”
The air quality network will be managed by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and co-chaired by both mayors, who will work with up to 20 other cities to develop solutions to air pollution.
London will share results from its new air quality sensor monitoring trial, which could then be rolled out in Bengaluru, Delhi and other cities tackling toxic air.