Clean Air Action Plan for Delhi


Sunita Narain and Anumita Roychowdhury of Centre for Science & Environment have produced a comprehensive action plan to significantly reduce air pollution in Delhi. In a recent report posted on the website, they have come up with a 15-point action plan

Many are of the suggest plans are already underway but need faster implementation and with better governance standards. With both the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal on watch and with AAP government making sincere efforts, chances of the crisis being managed better appears good. Excerpts of the report:

There is enough evidence in Delhi now that shows how emergency hospital admissions increase phenomenally during winter when pollution levels peak and several smog episodes occur.

This study, for the first time, put the spotlight on the problem of secondary particulates that are formed in the air from gases that come from combustion sources. This means the relative contribution of traffic, industry, power plants and open burning to particulate load becomes even bigger and needs stronger control.

Guiding principles for clean-up

Even though Delhi, like several other cities, is monitoring air quality there is no clear framework to meet the national ambient air quality standards. Sustained air quality gains can be made with sustained action. Delhi and other cities need a comprehensive source-wise action plan-mix of short, medium, long and emergency measures–to meet clean air targets in a time-bound manner. These need some key guiding principles:

So far, action in Delhi has been driven by the urgency for immediate relief. The time has now come to move towards a full- blown action plan and compliance process.

Take a regional approach – Over time, science has made it clear that local pollution cannot be solved without addressing the larger regional pollution. Satellite imagery shows how the entire north Indian belt stays smogged up during winter.

Address quantum vs. toxicity – Yet another principle that has been established is the setting of priorities according to what is more toxic and dangerous.

Address quantum vs. toxicity – Yet another principle that has been established is the setting of priorities according to what is more toxic and dangerous. Studies are assessing differentiated health risks according to the source of particulates.

Agenda 1cleanair-pic

  • Make emissions standards uniform across the country
  • Leapfrog emissions standards for new vehicles
    (Skip Bharat V to move to Bharat VI by 2020)
  • Control dieselization of the car segment
  • Equalize the fuel tax for diesel and petrol car users
  • Control truck emissions
  • Expedite completion of the peripheral expressways
  • Control overloading of trucks
  • Stop registration of diesel taxis under the
    All India Tourist Permit
  • Introduce a favorable taxation policy for clean fuels

Agenda 2 – Improve and scale up public transport

The Delhi Master Plan has set the target of achieving 80:20 modal share for public transport by 2020.

  • Improve bus transport •  Need multi-modal integration  •  Improve public transport connectivity in NCR

Action Agenda 3 – Right to safe walking and cycling on all roads

Action Agenda 4 – Restrain the growth in car numbers

Action Agenda 5 – Tax cars annually and higher than buses

Action Agenda 6 – Institute an urban transport fund

Action Agenda 7 – Stop pollution from power plants – Close down the Badarpur Thermal Power Plant

Action Agenda 8 – Control pollution from industry

Action Agenda 9 – Put a stop to garbage combustion

Action Agenda 10 – Prevent pollution from construction activities

Action Agenda 11 – Control crop fires

Action Agenda 12 – Control pollution from biomass-based cook stoves

Action Agenda 13 – Curtail road dust

Action Agenda14 – Ban the use of diesel generator sets

Action Agenda 15 – Curb the brick kiln menace

With 13 of the 20 most polluted cities across the world in India the task is cut out for all stakeholders. India needs its civil society to get engaged better if these plans are to work. The report misses out on efforts that can be made to minimize pollution from bursting crackers during Diwali.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace referred to an IIT Kanpur study that wanted 13 thermal power plants within a
300 km radius of Delhi to be regulated.

Also, the Supreme Court recently accorded its nod to the Centre’s graded response action plan to tackle different levels of pollution and asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to upgrade its existing infrastructure and set up additional monitoring stations in Delhi-NCR within six months.

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  1. Great action plan! Thank you so much….I’ll put my great effort in improving my environment. Not only me but your article will also surely help everyone to take an action plan for improving their environment.


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