Mayors of London and Bengaluru Launch Effort to Tackle Toxic Air Pollution in Cities Worldwide

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and the Mayor of Bengaluru, Sampath Raj, today announced that London and Bengaluru will lead a global partnership of up to 20 other world cities on tackling air pollution in urban centres. The C40 Air Quality Network, will allow city leaders to share ideas, nurture innovation and drive ambition in the global effort to improve the quality of the air in cities worldwide.

C40’s new Air Quality Network will be co-chaired by the Mayor of London and the Mayor of Bengaluru, working with up to 20 other global cities to develop solutions to the international air pollution crisis. 

London, in partnership with C40, will also trial a major new £750,000 ($1 million) cutting-edge street-by-street sensor air quality monitoring system which will be used to analyze harmful pollution in up to 1,000 toxic hot spots across the city including schools, hospitals, construction sites and busy roads.  The pilot will explore the efficacy of new technologies that provide information about the air people are breathing as they live, work and travel throughout the city. The project will focus on getting citizens directly engaged in combatting air pollution wherever they are. 

Results from London’s new air quality sensor monitoring trial will be used to better target policies, in addition to engaging citizens in cleaning up London’s air, and will be shared with Bengaluru and other cities in the new C40 Air Quality Network.  

The announcement was made during a six-day trade trip to India and Pakistan by the Mayor of London. Mayor Khan and Mayor Raj met in Delhi today to discuss the new network, and Mayor Khan met children at the Maharaja Agrasain Public School, as they took part in an air quality science class using sensors to measure pollution levels around their school.

Air Pollution is responsible for 6.5 million premature deaths every year according to the WHO, with cities across almost every continent facing air pollution that breaches WHO guidelines. 

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “Air pollution is a global problem that harms the lives of millions of people. 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. I’m proud today to announce London and Bengaluru will be leading a new air quality partnership. We hope to work with key cities across the world and in India, including with our good friends here in Delhi.

“I’m doing everything in my power to clean up London’s lethal air from introducing the world’s first toxicity charge for more polluting cars and bringing forward the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, to cleaning up our bus and taxi fleet. I’m pleased my ambitious work will soon be boosted by new state-of-the-art air quality sensor monitoring technology that will help deliver the most comprehensive data on toxic pollution ever.” 

Mayor of Bengaluru, Sampath Raj, said:  

“The City of Bengaluru is symbolic of the pace of urbanization we are seeing in India and in the global south. The city’s population has grown from 3.5 million in 1985 to nearly 11 million today. While this rapid growth has made the City of Bengaluru 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. As the Mayor of the City of Bengaluru 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. 

C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group has been working with and helping Bruhath Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) over several years now in exposing us to sustainable urban development best practices. We are extremely excited to be co-leading C40’s new Air Quality Network along with London. Together with London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan, I look forward to bringing together mayors from cities around the world and sharing our lessons learned, to tackle the urgent need to address air quality in our cities.” 

“The toxic emissions that cause air pollution are also contributing to climate change that threatens to cause devastation to the world’s cities, said Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40.  “Mayors recognise how urgently they need to act to clean the air we breathe in our cities, and I’m delighted that London and Bengaluru are bringing cities together to accelerate action. The C40 Air Quality Network will help transform the way that air pollution is tackled in cities across the globe.” 

All 91 C40 member cities will have access to the learnings from the Air Quality Network, in addition to specific air quality content in other C40 networks, including those on transport, buildings and energy, and waste.

In October 2017, 12 C40 cities - London, Paris, Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Quito, Vancouver, Mexico City, Milan, Seattle, Auckland & Cape Town – pledged to procure only zero-emission buses from 2025 and ensure that a major area of their city is zero emission by 2030. The commitments enshrined in the C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets Declaration are designed to fight air pollution, improve the quality of life for all citizens, and help tackle the global threat of climate change.

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The Request for Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the hyper local air quality monitoring pilot is open until 20 January 2018 and available here

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