Chandigarh, August 9, 2023: Organisations and individuals alarmed by escalating air pollution in their cities now have a powerful resource at their disposal: the India Clean Air Connect platform. Supported by the India Climate Collaborative and Asar Social Impact Advisors, and designed by Sensing Local, India Clean Air Connect is a dynamic, community-centric digital hub for air quality stakeholders and resources in India, that aims to facilitate collaborative action in the air quality domain, and advance action on air pollution in the country.
Air pollution is one of the greatest threats to public health in India, accounting for nearly one-third of the total annual deaths in the country. Nearly 70% of the top 50 most polluted cities in the world are in India; additionally, most Indian cities consistently do not meet the WHO’s air quality standards, putting much of the country’s population at risk of the adverse impacts of air pollution. Furthermore, air pollution and climate change are closely interlinked and often interact with each other as well. While a number and variety of solutions to air pollution have been implemented, addressing air pollution comprehensively requires a variety of stakeholders (policymakers, citizens, boundary organisations, and so on) to work collaboratively on solutions; studies suggest that such systems-level action is currently missing in the air quality domain. “India Clean Air Connect (ICAC) emerged from the urgent need recognised by air quality organisations to unite stakeholders, bridge knowledge disparities, and monitor sectoral and regional advancements to minimise redundancies or duplication in efforts. The platform serves to aggregate knowledge, data, and opportunities to foster a shared resource pool, facilitating peer learning and aligning efforts”, said Ankit Bhargava, Co-founder at Sensing Local.
Informed by a database of 350+ air quality actors in over 100 cities and 16 countries, as well as 74 international and national sources of data and knowledge, and 70+ networks in the ecosystem, India Clean Air Connect brings together organisations, individuals, and networks working on air quality in India across sectors and geographies, for collective action on air pollution, providing ecosystem stakeholders with avenues to collaborate across the ecosystem, align on goals, and coordinate action across the country. The platform also serves as a hub for communication, knowledge-sharing and learning, and stakeholder engagement, offering pertinent information on events, employment opportunities, funding possibilities, and resource portals.
Specifically, India Clean Air Connect aims to break the siloed nature of sectors and stakeholders within the air quality domain, which arises due to organizational structures, limited communication, and differing priorities; thus. often failing to address the intricate interplay of factors influencing air quality. Collective action is imperative as air quality challenges are complex, interconnected, and transboundary, necessitating holistic approaches. “Air pollution is a complex challenge that requires collective action from all stakeholders; to bridge key gaps and promote ecosystem-wide collaborations, regional partnerships, and innovative solutions, India Clean Air Connect is playing a pivotal role. This groundbreaking website brings together diverse air quality actors, amplifying their efforts and fostering a thriving ecosystem,” said Brikesh Singh, Chief of Communications & Engagement at Asar.
Recognising that knowledge is also a barrier to scaling collective action, a critical function of the India Clean Air Connect is also to synthesise information on air quality in India, and thus, serve as an accessible knowledge database to its users. The platform features essential government notifications, relevant air quality data retrieved from public sources, and a repository of past and present reports on air pollution. Users can access city and micro-action plans under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), as well as a comprehensive list of resource portals that present air quality data and knowledge from and on India. The platform also provides updates on major online and offline events related to air quality, and job opportunities in the domain, that can aid in enabling individuals as well as organisations to engage with the air quality ecosystem more strategically.
Additionally, India Clean Air Connect offers a critical opportunity to leverage philanthropic capital as well. “The air quality ecosystem in India is fragmented and severely underfunded, with funding limited to specific geographies and organisations. Recognising this reality, the India Clean Air Connect Platform adopts an ecosystem lens, vital for effective clean air action in India. The platform can serve as a common space for funders to engage with a variety of air quality actors, understand ecosystem priorities based on evidence, and find like-minded stakeholders to partner with”, stated Shloka Nath, CEO at India Climate Collaborative.
Collective efforts align policies, drive public awareness, safeguard health, and promote long-term improvements, transcending local boundaries. As India Clean Air Connect aims to harness this potential of collaborative systems for clean air in India, it invites all stakeholders working in the air quality domain to join the platform, collaborate, and collectively work towards a cleaner and healthier future for all.