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air quality - Shanmugam IAS academy in coimbatore
air quality

What’s in News?

The Union Environment Ministry has tasked the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)-National Physical Laboratory (NPL) with certifying air quality monitoring instruments. This is in anticipation of a rising demand by States — against the backdrop of the National Clean Air Campaign — for low cost air quality monitoring instruments that can monitor levels of nitrous oxides, ozone and particulate matter.



  • A five-year National Clean Air Programme plan was launched by the Government in January 2019 with set targets to decrease PM2.5 and PM10 by 20-30 per cent with 2017 as the base year. Air pollution is one of the biggest global environmental challenges of today.
  • A time bound national level strategy for pan India implementation to tackle the increasing air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner in the form of National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) was today launched by Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan in New Delhi.
  • City specific action plans are being formulated for 102 non-attainment cities identified for implementing mitigation actions under NCAP. Cities have already prepared action plans in consultation with CPCB.
  • Other features of NCAP include, increasing number of monitoring stations in the country including rural monitoring stations, technology support, emphasis on awareness and capacity building initiatives, setting up of certification agencies for monitoring equipment, source apportionment studies, emphasis on enforcement, specific sectoral interventions etc
  • In order to address the issue, Government has undertaken many significant steps which inter-alia includes notification of National Ambient Air Quality Standards and sector specific emission and effluent standards for industries;
    • setting up of monitoring network for assessment of ambient air quality
    • introduction of cleaner gaseous fuels like CNG, LPG etc and ethanol blending launching of National Air Quality Index (AQI)
    • universalization of BS- IV for vehicles by 2017
    • leapfrogging from BS-IV to BS-VI standards for vehicles by 1st April, 2020
    • banning of burning of biomass
    • promotion of public transport network
    • Pollution Under Control Certificate
    • issuance of directions under Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
    • installation of on-line continuous (24×7) monitoring devices by 17 highly polluting industrial sector
    • ban on bursting of sound emitting crackers between 10 PM to 6 AM
    • notification of graded response action plan for Delhi and NCR identifying source wise actions for various levels of air pollution, etc.

Particulate matter (PM):

  • It is the sum of all solid and liquid particles suspended in air, many of which are hazardous. This complex mixture contains for instance dust, pollen, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets. Based on size, particulate matter is often divided into two main groups:
  • The coarse fraction contains the larger particles with a size ranging from 2.5 to 10 µm (PM10 – PM2.5).
  • The fine fraction contains the smaller ones with a size up to 2.5 µm (PM2.5). The particles in the fine fraction which are smaller than 0.1 µm are called ultrafine particles.



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