May 01, 2003
A meeting between the Minister for Environment and Forests, Shri T.R. Baalu and the US EPA Administrator, Governor Christine Todd Whitman took place in Washington DC on 1 May, 2003 to review the programmes and activities envisaged under the MoU signed on 16 January 2002 during the visit of the Administrator, US EPA to New Delhi last year. The Indian side was represented by the Hon’ble Minister Shri T.R. Baalu, Shri Lalit Mansingh, Ambassador of India to Washington DC, Shri V.K. Duggal, Special Secretary, MOEF, and Shri G.K. Pandey, Adviser, MOEF. The US side was represented by USEPA Administrator, Governor Christine Todd Whitman, Assistant Administrator, Office of International Affairs, Ms. Judith E. Ayres, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Mr. John Beale, and other senior officials of USEPA. The progress made during the last one year was reviewed and both sides were happy with the large number of environmental activities initiated. The programmes undertaken during the last one year include a training programme on environmental compliance and enforcement; a workshop to evolve an urban air pollution control strategy using the USEPA vehicular emission model; study tours to the US and participation of US experts in the Conference on Environmental Health held at New Delhi. The environmental projects which have been posed to the USEPA and are in the pipeline are: Inventorization of Emissions and Source Apportionment Studies, Management of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals including Bio-medical waste, and Environmental Health and Risk Assessment.
The Indian delegation headed by the Minister emphasized the need for undertaking new programmes and activities for protection of environment and sustainable development that include the following:
- Cleaning of major rivers including monitoring of water quality.
- Environmental health and risk assessment with focus on children’s health specially covering exposure due to indoor air pollution, urban and industrial pollution, heavy metals including arsenic, chromium and pesticides.
- Colour removal from the industrial effluent, particularly waste water emanating from distilleries, pulp and paper mills.
- Mercury emissions from coal-based thermal power plants
- Environmental Technology Verification Programme
- Estimation of respirable particulates in the ambient air (PM2.5).
- Development and review of health based environmental standards.
- Human Resource Development of scientists and technocrats.
The USEPA Administrator assured of full cooperation by USA in undertaking the above new programmes and activities.
To a query raised by the Hon’ble Minister regarding environmental awareness amongst the children, the Administrator, EPA informed that a programme ‘Tools for Schools’ for raising environmental awareness amongst the schoolchildren has already been evolved by USEPA and that she would be happy to pass on the same to India for increasing environmental awareness amongst the schoolchildren in India.
Earlier the Indian delegation visited USEPA laboratory at Houston on 30 April and had useful discussions with Dr. D. Lipka, Director and other senior scientists, and were taken around the various facilities available with the laboratory. The Director of the Laboratory extended full cooperation for undertaking activities and programmes relating to pesticide estimation, assessment of volatile organic compounds, assessment of mercury emissions, colour removal technologies for industrial effluent, etc.
The Hon’ble Minister extended an invitation to the EPA Administrator to visit India and to attend the proposed workshop and Technology Bazaar on adoption of clean technologies scheduled to be held in November 2003 at New Delhi.
For more information, contact:
Sunil Lal, Counsellor (Press & Information) at (202) 939-7042