Bengaluru hosts inaugural meeting of C40 Air Quality Network

New network will create powerful opportunities for cities to work together on cleaning up toxic air

The cities of Bengaluru and London joined together today to launch the first official meeting of the new C40 Air Quality Network, a global effort to tackle air pollution in urban areas across the world.

Honourable Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, Honourable Deputy Chief Minister Dr. Parameshwara, Mayor of Bengaluru Sampath Raj, Commissioner of Bengaluru Manjunatha Prasad and London’s Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy Shirley Rodrigues attended the event alongside senior leaders of 14 global cities, who shared their experiences in addressing air quality.

The Network, led by Bengaluru and London, brings together experts and policymakers from cities around the world to develop solutions to the global threat of toxic air pollution. Formed when London Mayor Sadiq Khan visited India last year, the Network will allow leaders to share information and ideas and work together to develop plans for how each city will clean up its toxic air.  

Cities represented at the Workshop in Bengaluru include Bengaluru, Berlin, Chennai, Dar es Salaam, Delhi, Johannesburg, Kolkata, London, Los Angeles, Portland, Quito, Salvador, Tel Aviv and Warsaw.

The Network builds on previous work led by C40 to pool cities’ influencing powers, including through the Clean Bus and Fossil Fuel Free Streets declarations. The Clean Bus Declaration is believed to have significantly reduced the cost for new electric and hybrid buses, enabling cities to renew their fleets and reduce emissions more quickly.

Air pollution is responsible for 7 million premature deaths globally every year according to the WHO. In 2016, there were over 1.1 million early deaths in India and over 40,000 early deaths in the UK due to fine particulate matter and ozone pollution. This is a global crisis, with 9 out of 10 people worldwide breathing polluted air.

Bengaluru is implementing several actions to improve air quality, including installing over 80 fast-charging points for electric vehicles; transitioning to an all-electric bus fleet by 2030; source segregating 50 percent of its solid waste; making the pedestrians priority on its urban streets through its TenderSURE Streets project, which is focusing on creating more space for walking and cycling throughout the city and introducing a public bicycling scheme to promote non-motorized mobility across the city.

In London, the world's first Ultra Low Emission Zone is expected to reduce harmful NOx emissions by about 45 percent in the centre of the city from 2020. The city has also launched an air quality monitoring project with local sensors deployed in thousands of locations, making it the most sophisticated monitoring system in the world. As signatories to the C40 Green & Healthy Streets Declaration, London will purchase only zero-emission buses after 2025.

“It is with great pride and pleasure that I welcome the 14 cities from around the world to Karnataka and to Bengaluru,” said Honourable Chief Minister of Karnataka, HD Kumaraswamy. “I am convinced that the discussions and knowledge sharing on how other cities have dealt with air quality challenges will be extremely beneficial. I also look forward to hearing from the cities their experiences of Bengaluru and the rich culture of the State of Karnataka.”

“I am very excited to welcome the delegation from 14 cities from around the world to Bengaluru,” said Honourable Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka Dr. G Parameshwara. “I am also looking forward to hearing from other cities on what they can teach our officials on tackling an important issue such as air quality. As the Minister-in-Charge for the Development of Bengaluru, and based on the best practices that we can learn from the Air Quality Forum, I commit my full support in implementing a robust air quality management plan for Bengaluru by providing both financial and governance resources.”

“I am delighted to welcome the delegation from C40 Cities to Bengaluru,” said Mayor of Bengaluru R Sampath Raj. “As the Co-Chair of the C40 Cities Network on Air Quality along with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, I am looking forward to working with other mayors from cities who are part of the Network and learn from them the solutions to air quality challenges they have experienced in the past. Welcome to Bengaluru!”

“I would firstly like to thank C40 Cities for hosting the Air Quality Forum in Bengaluru,” said Commissioner of Bengaluru N Manjunatha Prasad. “Having been engaged with C40 Cities for a long time, I have experienced, first hand, the value and knowledge they bring to member cities like Bengaluru. I look forward to engaging with officials from the 14 visiting cities on air quality monitoring and mitigation and brainstorming on how solutions implemented globally can be contextualized to Bengaluru.”

“I am delighted to be able to take part in the inaugural meeting of the new C40 Air Quality Network in Bengaluru,” said London Deputy Mayor for Environment & Energy Shirley Rodrigues. “Only by working together and using the knowledge and experience we have as cities tackling this crucial issue can we make real progress in cleaning up our toxic air. We are already working hard in London, rolling out a series of ambitious measures to improve air quality, and I have no doubt that this new network will greatly help our efforts.”

“Air pollution is a worldwide problem that harms millions of people,” said London Mayor Sadiq Khan. “By sharing ideas and information with other global cities through the new C40 Air Quality Network, we can develop new ways to tackle this international health crisis and protect people from breathing in air so filthy it damages their lungs and causes diseases. I have made this issue one of my top priorities, and have already rolled out ambitious plans, including cleaning up the capital’s bus and taxi fleets and introducing the Toxicity Charge for the oldest polluting vehicles in central London. I’m also bringing forward the introduction of the world’s first Ultra-Low Emission Zone to start in April 2019 and extending it from October 2021. Through this new network, I look forward to learning from other cities and making progress together in our fight against toxic air.

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