A legally binding agreement (LBA) - growing need for air pollution reduction and control in South Asia

A legally binding agreement (LBA) - growing need for air pollution reduction and control in South Asia

Environmental degradation remains a challenge in most South Asian countries. With increased industrial activity, the exponential growth in number of vehicles and population, the contribution of each country to the south Asia regional air pollution is expected to increase over time. Emission levels of Sulfur dioxides, nitrogen oxides and suspended particulate matter have been rising steadily over past few decades. Owing to economic growth and increasing energy demand, greenhouse gas emissions have also risen in South Asia by about 3.3% annually since 1990. Coal is the main source of energy in the region, followed by natural gas.

This paper is based on a study conducted at SDPI, to examine and discuss the increase socioeconomic activities in South Asia vis-à-vis the degree of air pollution in the region and the responses, if any, of national governments to the problem.

South Asian countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, have carried out a number of projects/ activities for the creation of a meaningful framework to limit air pollution. A greater participation of member states is required and a regional framework is needed for better understanding and cooperation among the member states, on issues relating to air pollution. An effective implementation of a regional framework with shared responsibilities towards air pollution reduction measures across the member countries is vital for sustained economical growth, protection of environment and to safeguard public health, especially of future generations, in the region.

Among others, the paper concludes by recommending a legally binding agreement for South Asia (LBA-SA), to strengthen the framework for air pollution reduction at regional and national levels in South Asia.

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