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Overview of EPA Environmental Cooperation with India


This page contains descriptions of both completed and ongoing work. A more current exploration of our work can be found on the Collaboration with India page.

While EPA activities in India date to the early 1980s, EPA’s concerted program of environmental collaboration with India largely emerged since 2000, with a Presidential visit to India that year that included commitments to enhancing U.S.-India environmental cooperation, including specific engagement of EPA.  In November 2001, a Joint Statement was issued on the occasion of the India’s Prime Minister’s meeting with the President at the White House that established an Environment Track as a new component of the U.S.-India Economic Dialogue

The initial focus of establishing a more structured program of Environmental Cooperation was the development of a five year renewable Memorandum of Understanding between EPA and the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests signed during the EPA Administrator’s visit to India in January 2002.  The MOU established four focus areas of cooperation: air quality, water quality, toxics and waste, and environmental governance. EPA signed a Cooperative Agreement with India’s National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) Exit EPA disclaimer to further support efforts under the EPA-MoEF MOU and Environment Track of the U.S.-India Economic Dialogue.

EPA and collaborators in India have also undertaken several other activities that support our shared interest in the area of climate change. Notable are bilateral efforts that have been pursued under to key international partnership initiative in which both the United States and India are members, including the International Methane to Markets Partnership (now known as the Global Methane Initiative [GMI]) Exit EPA disclaimer and the Asia Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate. Exit EPA disclaimer

During a March 2007 visit to India, the EPA Administrator and Indian Minister of Environment and Forests signed a five year extension of the EPA-MoEF MOU (PDF) (11 pp, 2.4MB, About PDF Files).  In addition, efforts have been made to develop new institutional ties with other important government entities, including the Planning Commission and Ministries of Health and Family Welfare, Urban Development, Power, and Petroleum and Natural Gas, and Coal.  EPA has also sought to promote engagement of private sector partners in a number of activities through engagement with various industry associations.



Air Quality

Urban Air Quality Management
This program provides training, demonstration and technology transfer to support adoption of science-based air pollution control strategies in Indian cities in order to (a) establish baseline data on ambient air quality and pollution sources; (b) define most cost-effective source reduction opportunities and investments; (c) assist policymakers to evaluate health and economic impacts; and (d) develop informed stakeholder groups to increase commitment and accountability for air quality improvements.  This includes capacity building in air monitoring, emissions inventory, modeling, source apportionment and control strategy development (w/ cost benefit analysis), as well as health benefits assessment.

Clean Fuels and Vehicles
EPA is also pursuing a program specifically addressing vehicle emissions concerns in India, and in support of EPA’s Commitments under the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles Exit EPA disclaimer. Key elements of this program in India include (a) Training and field demonstrations of the International Vehicle Emissions Inventory Model (IVEM), to better characterize the contribution of vehicles to the overall air pollution problem in Indian cities; (b)  Training and technology transfer on portable emissions testing technologies, to provide an easier, less expensive tool to quantify and characterize vehicle emissions; and (c) demonstration project on retrofit technologies on-the-ground in Pune, India for diesel buses and autorickshaws.  EPA is also interested in working with India on assessing benefits of upgrading India’s refineries to reduce sulfur in both diesel and gasoline fuels.

Industrial Emissions
EPA has supported several activities in India addressing monitoring and control technology for air pollution from Coal-Fired Power Plants, including workshop on monitoring and control technologies, and hands-on training on EPA software tools to help optimize performance of electrostatic precipitators.  EPA has also supported programs to assist India in addressing air and other pollution from Petroleum Refining.

Indoor Air Pollution
This program supports the goals of the Partnership for Clean Indoor Air Exit EPA disclaimer (PCIA) to address the increased environmental health risk faced by a majority of Indians who burn traditional biomass and coal indoors for cooking and heating, resulting in an estimated 400,000 premature deaths annually – primarily among women and children.  Efforts are aimed at bringing together governments, non-governmental organizations, and industry to work on: improving the design and performance of cooking and heating technology; social awareness and marketing; business development; and monitoring indoor air pollution. The 2007 global meeting of the PCIA was held in Bangalore, India

Other Air Quality Cooperation
EPA has also engaged India in areas such as Long-Range Transport of Air Pollutants and Emissions Trading as a tool for managing air pollution emissions.



Water Quality Management

Drinking Water Laboratory Strengthening
EPA has been working with Indian partners and WHO India to strengthen capacity of drinking water quality laboratories for effective monitoring and surveillance. Key elements of the project including production of Indian drinking water laboratory operations and methods manual, and training on lab management and chemical and microbiological test methods.

Water Safety Plan Training and Demonstration
This project will include cooperative work with Central, State, and municipal government, and with WHO in India, to demonstrate use of Water Safety Plans, a comprehensive risk assessment and management tool to enhance drinking water safety. The project seeks to address highest vulnerabilities in the drinking water system, and reduce water-borne disease through source water protection, improved operations at drinking water utilities, and improved distribution systems.



Environmental Governance

Environmental Compliance and Enforcement
Environmental compliance and enforcement capacity building is a central focus of the EPA-MoEF MOU Environmental Governance agenda.  EPA has provided several trainings and conducted an institutional evaluation on compliance and enforcement issues in India.  A report identified numerous recommendations, and proposals exist to follow up in key areas, including:

  1. Enhanced application of civil judicial enforcement authorities in India
  2. Application of industry self-monitoring and citizen monitoring, including sharing lessons learned through the newly launched Asia Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network


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