The evolution of science and technology has led to the improvement in the standard of life. However, the elevated standards of life have come at the expense of mother nature attributable to the reckless usage of depleting non-renewable sources of energy. These resources not only fuel our day to day requirements but also contaminate the surrounding environment thereby suffocating the earth.

The problem of pollution

The over-exploitation of resources for energy and improper disposal of their remnants has resulted in high levels of pollution contaminating the air, water, soil and the overall environment around us. With the objective of the protection and improvement of environment, the Government has come up with numerous legislative frameworks and policies.

Legal Governance

With a view to protect the depleting environment, the Government is making constant efforts. The Environment Protection Act, 1986 with the objective of conservation and improvement of environment has been introduced along with various legislations working towards the protection of air, water and other environmental components.

The Central Pollution Control Board (hereinafter referred to as “CPCB”) is the statutory organisation established by the Government aims to promote cleanliness thus improving the environment. In furtherance of the said objectives CPCB consistently formulates strategies.

Air Quality monitoring

With a view to prevent, control and abate air pollution, the Government enforced the provisions of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. The provisions of the said act aim for creation of a better and cleaner standard of air to breathe.

The National Air Monitoring Plan of CPCB works to determine status and trends of ambient air quality; to ascertain whether the prescribed ambient air quality standards are violated; to Identify Non-attainment Cities; to obtain the knowledge and understanding necessary for developing preventive and corrective measures and to understand the natural cleansing process undergoing in the environment through pollution dilution, dispersion, wind based movement, dry deposition, precipitation and chemical transformation of pollutants generated.

Graded Response Action Plan

Graded Response Action Plan has been prepared for implementation under different Air Quality Index categories namely, Moderate & Poor, Very Poor, Severe and Severe+ or Emergency as per National Air Quality Index. The authorities are bestowed with the responsibilities to minimize the air pollution level depending upon their respective Air Quality Index.

Recent Measures

Confronting the challenge of high level of air pollution in Delhi and the National Capital Region raising serious concerns requiring urgent attention an Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi was launched on October 15, 2018. [1]

The System is designed to predict extreme air pollution events and give alerts to take necessary steps as per Graded Response Action Plan of the Government of India.  CPCB has constituted a 41-member team which will continuously monitor the air pollution levels in Delhi and NCR region and will report to the board. Some of the features of the said warning system are stated below:

  1. Real time observations of air quality over Delhi region and details about natural aerosols like dust (from dust storms) and particulate matter using different satellite data sets
  2. Predictions of air pollutants from two different air quality prediction systems based on state-of-the-art atmospheric chemistry transport models and
  3. Warning Messages and Alerts and Bulletins.

The aforesaid framework will enable the Government to devise appropriate policies to regulate the increasing particulate and emission matter which shall help to reduce the levels of pollution in the environment.