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Air quality meet in Agra
BAQ 2004 to promote a network of people and organizations working in different fields to improve the air quality in Asian cities

By Shandip KC
AGRA, India, Dec 5 –

Over 650 experts from 35 Asian countries have gathered here to share their experiences on management of urban air quality and discuss ways to improve it. The fourth Better Air Quality (BAQ) workshop will commence at this beautiful Indian city of Taj Mahal from Monday.

The main aim of the workshop, organizers say, is to promote a network of people and organizations working in different fields to improve the air quality in Asian cities through direct action and policy initiatives.

"The workshop aims to bring people across Asia and develop concrete actions to reduce air pollution," says Cornie Huizenga, head of the Clean Air Initiative (CAI) for Asian Cities. CAI Asia is promoted by the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and USAID.

The third BAQ workshop held in Philippines last year had listed Kathmandu as one of the most polluted cities in the world. The organizers had, then, apologized for what was inadvertently made public. Keshav Sthapit, former mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, had even publicly announced to sue World Bank for such conclusion.

Clarifying the reason of how Kathmandu was listed as the most polluted city, Huizenga said, "The 24-hour average data on air pollution was inadvertently taken as the annual data." "It was our mistake," he added.

There are 21 participants from Nepal representing government, non-government and private sectors. Nepali participants believe the workshop to be fruitful as it is a gathering of who’s who in air quality sector from all over Asia. Here’s how Bhushan Tuladhar, environmental expert associated with the Clean Energy Nepal, thinks Nepal can benefit from this workshop. "21 Nepalis are talking about air quality here now, which is difficult to gather back home."BAQ 2004 will introduce new technological developments in air quality monitoring and control of indoor and outdoor air pollution that have proven successful in Aisa and other places. "The main focus is on urban air quality as that is where most of the growth in Asia taking place," said Jitendra Shah, lead environmental specialist, World Bank.

The workshop is being organized by CAI Asia and co-hosted by Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Source: http://www.kantipuronline.com/kolnews.php?&nid=24687

Published on 06 December 2004, The Kathmandu Post

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Shandip, K.C.

Secretariat: The World Bank & Asian Development Bank