India, Sweden discuss reducing industrial emissions

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Sweden King Carl XVI. Photo by PTI

Joining hands to combat air pollution and climate change, India and Sweden discussed on Tuesday various technological solutions to reduce industrial emissions, with a Swedish minister saying his country is aiming to make carbon-free steel and carbon-neutral cement by 2030.

India's Principal Scientific Advisor V K Raghavan and officials from the Ministries of Environment, Agriculture and Renewable Energy discussed these issues with the visiting Swedish delegation headed by King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf.

Gustaf spoke about the importance of improving the quality of forests and acknowledged that the round-table at the India Habitat Centre made him feel positive.

"Forest is very important. Everybody has to work together," he said.

Raghavan said India and Sweden were looking at technological solutions to combat problems related to the environment.

"Today, we looked at solutions for air pollution. There are three different components that the government is addressing. One is an attitude change in our industries and institutions so that they emit less pollution-causing materials. The second is whatever pollutants there are, we try to measure what is happening everywhere. Sensors are very important. Thirdly, this information needs to be given to decision-making systems," Raghavan told PTI.

Sweden's Minister of Business, Innovation and Enterprise Ibrahim Baylan, said, "Air pollution and climate change are essentially two sides of the same coin. Now we have a global climate accord and in most of the countries, vibrant debates are taking place about how to promote more sustainable development. We have to do everything we can across all sectors."

He said Sweden is working towards innovation in making carbon-free steel and carbon-neutral cement by 2030.

"In Sweden, our global impact in emissions and otherwise is limited but we still have certain targets to become the first fossil-free society," the minister added.

Talking about waste management, Baylan said Sweden recycles 99 per cent of its waste and even imports it. "You have to be very pragmatic about it. Sweden used to be heavily oil-dependent earlier but by using waste as resources, we are now importing waste from countries like Italy, Great Britain and Norway," he said.

Swedish company Bioendev has launched its first pilot project 'Agri-waste to Biocoal' plant in Punjab where it aims to combat the crop-residue waste problem by converting stubble into 'bio-coal'.

"Bio-coal is important to reduce stubble burning. We have a technology which converts rice straw into bio-coal which can be used in power plants based on fossil fuel.

"We plan to set up 100 bio-coal plants in India in the next three years which will produce three million tonnes of bio-coal by using five million tonnes of rice straw," said John Berggren, CEO, Bioendev.

Heads of companies like Tetrapak, Ikea and Ericsson shared their commitment to sustainability through their business models in India.

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