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Foreigners Interested In Setting Up Base In India Worried About Air Pollution: German Official

The German official said his country welcomes India’s National Clean Air Programme, which aims to reduce air pollution in 131 cities across the country, according to media reports


Air pollution emerges as a significant concern for potential foreign investors eyeing a foothold in India, according to insights shared by a German Embassy official. Speaking at a symposium on air pollution, Hendrik Selle, head of the Department for Economic and Global Affairs at the German Embassy, underscored the profound impact of air pollution on both public health and the economy. Selle highlighted that air pollution stands as a primary deterrent for foreigners considering establishing a permanent presence in India, citing it as a risk they are unwilling to undertake.

Acknowledging the intricate nature of the issue, Selle emphasized the need to move beyond political finger-pointing and towards concerted action. He noted that attributing blame between various stakeholders only exacerbates the problem, stressing the necessity for both national and international political initiatives to address the multifaceted challenges of air pollution. Selle further emphasized the indispensable role of the private sector in complementing political efforts to combat air pollution effectively.

Commending India’s National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), Selle expressed Germany’s support for the initiative aimed at curbing air pollution in 131 cities across the nation. He highlighted collaborative efforts between Germany and India to ensure the NCAP’s effective implementation in cities like Surat, Pune, and Nagpur, as part of a project initiated in 2019. Selle announced the commencement of a new bilateral project between the two countries aimed at tackling urban air pollution in India.

Retired Justice Swatanter Kumar, former chairperson of the National Green Tribunal, echoed concerns over the failure to provide clean air for future generations. Stressing the urgency of the situation, he called upon cities in India to ramp up efforts to reduce air pollution.

The National Clean Air Programme, launched in 2019, seeks to achieve a 20–30 percent reduction in PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations by 2024 in 131 cities failing to meet prescribed air quality standards from 2011 to 2015. Responding to the escalating crisis, the government has set a new target of a 40 percent reduction in particulate matter concentration by 2026 in these cities.

A report by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) last year underscored the severe consequences of fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5), estimating an average reduction of 5.3 years in life expectancy for Indians due to air pollution.

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