Blowing hot air? The Delhi government this week inaugurated the city’s second smog tower at the Shivaji Nagar Metro Station | Photo: Insider/Reuters

India to update air quality standards from next year, to monitor more pollutants

India plans to broaden the number of ambient air pollutants it monitors to include ultrafine particulate matter smaller than PM 2.5 by 2022. Currently, India monitors eight pollutants, which include PM 2.5, PM 10, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, benzene and ammonia. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has given the task of updating the National Air Quality Standards to a team of scientists from IIT Kanpur, IIT Delhi, National Physical Laboratory (NPL), NEERI and AIIMS.  

The scientists will consider the norms followed by different countries and the World Health Organisation (WHO) before recommending new norms. They will also consider geographical location and meteorological conditions and impact of pollutants on health and vegetation before updating the norms.

90 units found breaking pollution norms in Delhi, to shut down 

The Delhi pollution control board (DPCC) is set to issue closure notices to 90 industrial units and  show-cause notices to nearly 70 other units over  violating the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act and Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act in the city’s Patparganj area. The board found 819 industrial units in the area of which 404 units were operating as godowns, offices and construction units legally. The DPCC said under the green category, where pollution was “mild”, 19 units were found to be operating without valid approvals, four had permission, but were found to be flouting pollution control norms and two did not allow inspections in their premises.

Out of a total of 73 units , officials suggested issuing show cause-notices to 18 units that were flouting air and water pollution norms, and closure notices to five industries found operating without valid permissions.

Delhi gets another smog tower to help tackle poor air quality

Ahead of the winter season, notorious for its association with toxic air around the national capital, the Delhi government inaugurated the city’s second smog tower at the Shivaji Stadium Metro Station, near Connaught Place. The tower is equipped with 40 fans which can reportedly absorb air from up to 1 km away and spit out 1000 cu.m of clean air per second. Experts have long contended that technological stop gaps such as smog towers are not only unproven but also incredibly costly to install and operate. While Delhi’s AAP government has claimed the smog tower to be the first such project in the country, similar smaller projects have been previously installed in Delhi and Bengaluru.

Study finds most state pollution control boards’ websites silent on development projects

A new study by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) found that most of the Indian states do not share information with the public about development projects. Of the 34 state pollution control boards (SPCB) and pollution control committees (PCC) in the country that make pollution information public on websites, nine states, including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Andaman & Nicobar, Puducherry, Chandigarh, Daman & Diu and Uttar Pradesh, did not share any details of public hearings.

Websites of 16 SPCBs and PCCs contained incomplete information. Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand provided only summaries of meetings, but hid the draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports, the paper mentioned. Himachal Pradesh shared minutes of meetings and draft EIA report, but didn’t specify the date of the next public hearing.

About The Author