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PIB Summaries 01 May 2023


  1. Improving Air Quality in Delhi

Improving Air Quality In Delhi

Focus: GS III: Environment and Ecology  

Why in News?

  • As per the data from the Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi witnesses maximum number of ‘Good’ to ‘Moderate’ Air Quality days during the first 4 months’ period of January –April 2023 as compared to the corresponding period of last 7 years since 2016.
  • The number of ‘Poor to Severe’ Air Quality Days in Delhi was 108 in 2016  and 68 in 2023
  • The year 2023 has seen the lowest levels of daily average PM10 and PM2.5  concentration with lowest Daily Average AQI in 2023
  • Persistent field-level efforts and targeted policy initiatives in the short/ medium/ long term expected to result in gradual but marked improvement in Air Quality.

About Air Quality Index

  • National Air Quality Index was launched by the Prime Minister in April, 2015 starting with 14 cities to disseminate air quality information.
  • The AQI has six categories of air quality, viz Good, Satisfactory, Moderately Polluted, Poor, Very Poor and Severe with distinct colour scheme. Each of these categories is associated with likely health impacts.
  • AQI considers eight pollutants (PM10, PM 2.5, NO2, SO2, CO, O3, NH3 and Pb) for which (up to 24-hourly averaging period) National Ambient Air Quality Standards are prescribed.

About National Ambient Air Quality Standards:

  • The mandate provided to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act empowers it to set standards for the quality of air.
  • National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) were notified in the year 1982, duly revised in 1994 based on health criteria and land uses.
  • The NAAQS have been revisited and revised in November 2009 for 12 pollutants, which include
    • Sulphur dioxide (SO2),
    • Nitrogen dioxide (NO2),
    • Particulate matter having size less than 10 micron (PM10),
    • Particulate matter having size less than 2.5 micron (PM2.5),
    • Ozone,
    • Lead,
    • Carbon monoxide (CO),
    • Arsenic,
    • Nickel,
    • Benzene,
    • Ammonia,
    • Benzopyrene

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)

  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India is a statutory organisation under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Mo.E.F.C).
  • It was established in 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of pollution) Act, 1974.
  • Hence, it is a Statutory Body.
  • The CPCB is also entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
  • It serves as a field formation and also provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • It Co-ordinates the activities of the State Pollution Control Boards by providing technical assistance and guidance and also resolves disputes among them.
  • It is the apex organisation in country in the field of pollution control, as a technical wing of MoEFC.
  • The board is led by its Chairperson, who is generally a career civil servant from the Indian Administrative Service appointed by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet of the Government of India.
  • CPCB has its head office in New Delhi, with seven zonal offices and 5 laboratories.

Responsibilities and Activities of CPCB

  • The board conducts environmental assessments and research.
  • It is responsible for maintaining national standards under a variety of environmental laws, in consultation with zonal offices, tribal, and local governments.
  • It has responsibilities to conduct monitoring of water and air quality, and maintains monitoring data.
  • The agency also works with industries and all levels of government in a wide variety of voluntary pollution prevention programs and energy conservation efforts.
  • It advises the central government to prevent and control water and air pollution.
  • It also advises the Governments of Union Territories on industrial and other sources of water and air pollution. CPCB along with its counterparts the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) are responsible for implementation of legislation relating to prevention and control of environmental pollution.


April 2024