Steps to Reduce Pollution by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

National Air Quality Index


  • National Air Quality Index launched in April, 2015 starting with 14 cities to disseminate air quality information.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
  • National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) :
    Comprise 12 pollutants, out of which, three pollutants namely PM10, SO2 and NO2 are monitored at 612 locations in 254 cities /towns by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in association with various State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) and Pollution Control Committees (PCCs) for UTs.
  • Implementation of Bharat Stage IV norms in the 63 selected cities and universalization of BS-IV by 2017.
  • Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) on 27.11.2015 issued two Draft Notifications for advancing the implementation timelines to 2019 for BS-V and 2021 for BS-VI for comments of stakeholders.
  • The Government has held four meetings with Ministers of Environment of National Capital Region and Punjab on ways and means to reduce air pollution.
  • CPCB has worked out a transparent criteria to classify industries as :
    1. 'Red'
    2. 'Orange'
    3. 'Green' and
    4. ‘White’
      Category to link with ease of doing business and granting of consent including its siting.  The criteria evolved are based on pollution potential and resource consumption rather than capital cost.
  • The Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) is being revised by CPCB, which will be based on weightage of air, water and land pollution. Real time online monitoring of over 2100 industrial units in 17 highly polluting category including those connected to C.E.T.P have been mandated, leaving those units which have been exempted otherwise, or are not operational.  These industries have been directed to monitor 24x7 effluent discharge quality and air emission quality. So far, around 1800 industries are reported to have installed 24x7 devices.
  • CPCB has finalized standards for sewage treatment plants (STPs) which stipulate that treated effluents from STP shall be utilized for non-potable use and if, such effluents are to be disposed off into surface water body of the ground, in such cases, STPs will have to meet stricter standards.
  • Real-time monitoring of water quality of Ganga initiated at eight stations on the main course and two stations on Yamuna
  • Developed Action Plan for Ganga mainstream States to achieve Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) and water conservation for tanneries, distilleries, textiles, sugar and pulp and paper and achieving improved effluent standards for irrigation in respect of pulp and paper and sugar industries.
  • Environmental standards for Thermal Power Plants, Continuous Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) and sugar industry have been finalized.
  • An online system for submission and monitoring of Environmental and Forest approvals under the provisions of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. It automates the entire tracking of proposals, including online submission of a new proposal, editing/updating the details of proposals and displays the status of the proposals at each stage of the workflow.
  • A joint action has been initiated with Water Resources Ministry to run sewage treatment plants and with Urban Development Ministry for organised Solid Waste Management. The same formula will be extended to all the other rivers.
  • Ministry has undertaken revamping Waste Management Rules, namely
    • Bio-Medical Waste (Management & Handling) Rules,
    • Solid Waste Management Rules
    • Plastic Waste Management Rules
    • E-waste (Management) Rules
    • Draft Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Trans-boundary Movement)
    • Rules and its implementation will lead to significant improvement in waste management. This is at an advanced stage of finalization.
  • An India Resource Panel has been established to promote resource efficiency and use of secondary raw material.