SEIP » Clean Air Projects » Improving Air Quality in India and Mexico  · 

Triangular Cooperation Project

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nine out of ten people in the world breathe polluted air and it is the cause of seven million deaths a year. When the quality of the air we breathe decreases, the risk of cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and respiratory problems increases. In addition, pollution is a problem aggravated by poverty: 97% of cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants located in countries with a low or medium economic level do not comply with the emission levels established by the WHO, while in the richest countries in economic terms this percentage is reduced by half. India is one of the countries most exposed to the concentration of particulate pollutants, especially in urban areas: currently, the second most populous country in the world is home to 14 of the 15 cities with the worst air quality, including Varanasi, Delhi and Agra. The Government of India, which has most of the world's most polluted cities, has launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), which aims to reduce clean air pollution by 20-30% by 2024. The NCAP's "interim" target is to reduce concentrations of PM10 (those below 10 microns) and PM2.5 (below 2.5 microns) by 20-30% over the next five years, based on 2017 levels. The plan, which will require coordination between ministries, regional governments and local administrations, provides for the construction of more measuring stations, assistive technologies, the promotion of awareness and the establishment of certification bodies to verify the equipment used. 

The results of the plans to address air pollution are long-term, so the NCAP will be implemented over an extended period to measure the outcome of its effects. The overall objective of the NCAP is the mitigation, prevention, control and abatement of air pollution, and includes measures to increase the air quality monitoring network throughout the country and to strengthen awareness.

In the Mexican case, several analyses have been conducted on the impact of air pollution on public health where considerable potential benefits are demonstrated if pollution is reduced: The WHO estimated that air pollution caused 14,700 premature deaths in Mexican cities in 2008; the INSP estimated that reducing concentrations of particles in the air could prevent between 6,500 and 14,300 premature deaths; and the study "Analysis of three Latin American cities (Mexico, Sao Paulo [Brazil] and Santiago [Chile])," estimated that reducing pollution would prevent 3,800 premature deaths in Mexico City and more than 80,000 cases of respiratory infections in children annually. In large cities, air pollution comes mainly from the transportation sector, due to deficiencies in the public transportation system, road congestion, and increased distances traveled by motor vehicles. All this is associated with a vehicle fleet with low renewal rates that prevent the widespread use of lower emission and higher energy efficiency technologies. The Government of Mexico has promoted the development of management programs to improve air quality (ProAire) in the 32 states that make up the national territory.

By 2020, there are 37 ProAires in force, covering all 67 air basins, and comprising 29 state and 8 regional programs. These Programs have a governance mechanism called the ProAire Core Committee, which concentrates the efforts of authorities from the three levels of government, academia, industry and organized civil society, to follow up on the measures and actions planned, as well as to evaluate the results obtained.

Triangular Cooperation on air quality improvement in India and Mexico aims at implementing a coherent and comprehensive policy to improve air quality, based on coordinated efforts among participating countries, enriching it with the experiences and achievements obtained. It will promote the development of technical cooperation mechanisms between the countries. This proposal for Triangular Cooperation proposes that the federal and local governments of Mexico and India share successful experiences and good practices at the national, state and local government levels to improve air quality and contribute to the solution of urban problems. German experience will also be shared, and lessons will be learned from initiatives and programs already underway, such as the "Sofortprogramm Saubere Luft 2017-2020" (Immediate Clean Air Program for 2017-2020) of the German Federal Government, which aims to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions as quickly as possible.