MPs Take On Air Pollution

By Outlook Planet Desk March 27, 2023

Parliamentarians' Group for Clean Air launched a compendium and a charter of demands related to air pollution, recently

MPs Take On Air Pollution
According to a survey by Swiss firm IQAir, India is the world's eighth most polluted country in 2022. PTI

The Parliamentarians' Group for Clean Air (PGCA), a coalition of 35 Members of Parliament from various political parties, unveiled a compendium recently in an effort to enable their colleagues to monitor factors affecting air pollution levels in their districts and seek solutions for better implementing governmental policies.

 “It is a well-known fact that these positive steps have, to an extent, taken the conversation out of Delhi-NCR. However, we need to focus more on issues like; the availability of actionable data for local actions, capacity building of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) as well as Gram Panchayats, increasing uptake of Electric Vehicles (EVs) or their alternatives and involving citizens. While doing so, we must remember that every action having a potential impact on livelihood must be implemented in a phased manner having equally rewarding alternatives at the core of it, especially for farmers and the workforce engaged in mining. Further, one essential step is to launch a nationwide survey to have a deeper understanding of the correlation between Air Pollution and health, followed by appropriate policy-level interventions,” states Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi, who is convener of PGCA. 

PGCA launching the documents at the two day workshop

Discussing the issues and possible solutions around air pollution, at the two day Clean Air workshop in Gurugram, the group also launched a charter of demands, which, once finalised, will be delivered to the state governments of several states as well as the Union Minister for Environment, Forests, and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav. The charter's main points include: integrating air quality and public health in policy decisions; installing the necessary infrastructure in rural and urban areas to capture even finer pollutants; heeding the airshed approach at the municipal or city level; international cooperation to reduce the effects of transboundary effects of air pollution; and partnerships between industries and the government and other stakeholders to adopt clean air initiatives. “Therefore, appropriate infrastructure i.e. in rural and urban areas alike to capture even finer pollutants must be installed to record real-time data to evaluate the quantum of the issue for responding more effectively. We also recommend that the real-time Air Quality data from all the sectors contributing to air pollution, both public and private, shall be made publicly available,” reads one of their demands in the charter. 

The compendium delves into various aspects of air pollution, presents hard facts and data along with various measures put in place. It also lists compelling case studies from different states like Maharashtra (Source Apportionment Study and Control Measures) West Bengal (Monitoring Network Enhancement using Low-Cost Sensors) Rajasthan (Road dust - Major Contributor to Air Pollution). 

The case study from Maharashtra reveals how the Government is working towards Air pollutant source-specific strategies through policy support for pollution control systems in the industry and also promoting district-specific policies for less or non-polluting industries in the state. 

As dangerous air pollution in Delhi continued to rise in the year 2019, a small group of MPs joined together to declare themselves the MPs for Clean Air. The batch agreed that air pollution ought to be identified as being a risk to the public's health. The committee then actively engaged in various expert consultations and took action on a range of issues that have connections to air pollution.

The group consists of 37 MPs from different constituencies across India like Abdul Khaleque Barpeta from Assam, Amar Patnaik from Odisha, Arvind Ganpat Sawant from Mumbai-South, Maharashtra,  Brijendra Singh from Hisar, Haryana, Heena Vijaykumar Gavit Nandurbar, Maharashtra and others.