NCR, breathe easy! Air Quality Commission prepared policy to reduce pollution in each area

In a step towards improving the air quality of Delhi-National Capital Region, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) has formulated a comprehensive policy with sector wise recommendations for the Central Government, State Governments, GNCTD, Central Agencies and Departments . Pollution Control Boards (CPCBs) and State Pollution Control Boards (PCBs) of NCR to prevent, control and reduce air pollution.

The policy covers industries, vehicles/transport, construction and demolition (C&D), dust from roads and open areas, municipal solid waste burning, crop residue burning, etc.

It deals with thermal power plants (TPP), clean fuel and electric mobility, public transport, road traffic management, diesel generators (DG), bursting of crackers and reducing air pollution through greenery and tree plantation.

A different approach and time-frame has been suggested for different sub-regions – the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT); NCR districts of Gurugram, Faridabad, Sonipat, Jhajjar, Rohtak, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddha Nagar and Baghpat; other NCR districts; For stubble burning mainly in the entire state of Punjab and non-NCR districts of Haryana.

How was the roadmap created?

The Supreme Court, in its order dated December 16, 2021, had directed the CAQM to “in order to find a permanent solution to the menace of air pollution occurring every year in Delhi and NCR, suggestions may be invited from the general public as well as . Experts in the field”.

The commission then constituted an expert group, which considered the suggestions received, interacted with the interventionists and experts as well as various stakeholders and representatives of the state government. In addition to taking into account the suggestions received, the group reviewed and examined the existing scientific literature, relevant policies, regulations, programs and funding strategies, current status of action and best practice approaches of the Central and State Governments in various sectors. The suggestions received were from civil society, research bodies, industry, experts, academia, individuals etc. and related to mitigation in key areas of air pollution, air quality management, monitoring framework and institutional strengthening for implementation.

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The scope of this multi-sectoral assessment includes relevant incidents such as industry, power plants, vehicles and transport, diesel generator sets, construction/demolition projects/roads and open areas such as dust sources, municipal solid waste/biomass burning, stubble burning, crackers etc. Huh. Other scattered sources. The inputs and suggestions received in a series of stakeholder consultations were appropriately incorporated in the relevant sections.

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The Expert Group has suggested short-term (up to one year), medium-term (one-three years), and long-term (three-five years, preferably) actions, considering the issues and complexities involved.

This time frame has been varied for different sub-regions/regions/districts/cities to provide room for change for all to meet the common air quality target.

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Broadly speaking, important areas of change aimed at meeting national ambient air quality standards include:

Wider access to affordable clean fuels and technology in industry, transport and households

Mobility transition including mass transit, electrification of vehicles, building walking and cycling infrastructure and reducing personal vehicle use, etc.

Circular economy for material recovery from waste to prevent its dumping and burning

Dust management from open areas with C&D activities, Right of Roads/Roads (ROW) and appropriate technology, infrastructure and green measures

Strict time bound implementation, better monitoring and compliance.

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