Air Pollution

National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Various air pollutants

Mains level: NAAQ standards

Delhi and most of the other non-attainment cities under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) have shown only a marginal improvement, said a new analysis released.

About NCAP

  • The NCAP was implemented across India in 2019 to reduce particulate matter levels in 132 cities by 20-30% in 2024.
  • Cities are declared non-attainment if they consistently fail to meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) over a five-year period.

What are NAAQ 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.
  • Hence the current National Ambient Air Quality Standards were notified in November 2009 by the CPCB.
  • Prior to this, India had set Air Quality standards in 1994, and this was later revised in 1998.
  • The 2009 standards further lowered the maximum permissible limits for pollutants and made the standards uniform across the nation.
  • Earlier, less stringent standards were prescribed for industrial zones as compared to residential areas.

Pollutants covered:

  • Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)
  • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2),
  • Particulate Matter (size less than 10 µm) or PM 10
  • Particulate Matter (size less than 2.5 µm) or PM2.5
  • Ozone (O3)
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO)
  • Ammonia (NH3)

(Air Pollutants that most of us NEVER heard of:)

  • Lead
  • Benzene (C6H6)
  • Benzo(a)Pyrene (BaP)
  • Arsenic(As)
  • Nickel (Ni)

Source: Arthpaedia


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