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With input from Dr Monica Vasudev
1438: Round Table - Expert Group on Environment Zoom Meeting on“Local Area Air Quality Management Plan - How to Prepare and Implement"
28th February, 2020, 12 noon-1 pm
Participants: Dr KK Aggarwal, Dr Anil Kumar, Dr Dipankar Saha, DrM Dwarkanath, Mr Vikas Singhal, Ms Meenakshi Dhote, Dr SK Tyagi, Mr ChandraBhushan Sharma, Mr SA Verma, Mr Pankaj Kapil, Mr Neeraj Tyagi, Dr Shyam Gupta, DrS Sharma
Key points from thediscussion
• There are several action plans for control of air quality in place in Delhi.
• Despite no crop burning, air quality was in severe category indicating a highcontribution of local air pollution.
• Hence, there is a need for local air quality management.
• The first air pollution act was passed in ’81-82. Earlier, the CPCB and otherregulatory bodies were involving communities in decisions as well as implementationof the government plans. But, now the local people are not involved indiscussions on environmental problems and implementations of programs.
• Local problems differ from ward to ward; they are not uniform across the city.
• CPCB and the Environment Ministry can help local bodies to develop a workableprogram.
• Presently it is a government-driven approach; instead it should becommunity-driven approach.
• The focus should be to improvement the environment, in total, in the local areaand not just air pollution. Think of environment as one unit.
• City planning and design of the building influences air quality. Microclimaticvariations in big cities have major impact on air pollution pattern.
• Source control and a sustainable approach are required.
• We need environmental management system, environmental support system andenvironmental surveillance system for health security. For this we needadequate information, knowledge and implementation practices.
• Data that is generated is not being used.
• Doctors should take the lead and tell the regulator about what is needed toreduce the health hazards of pollution. Participation of sociologists in theseprograms is almost negligible. Integration is missing. It has now become asubject of discussion only for the government and researchers.
• Political support at the local level is needed.
• There should be a robust mechanism for forecasting at the ground level.
• Roles and responsibilities at the citizens’ level are needed.
• Gaps remain in the implementation of pollution control programs in terms ofparticipation of all stakeholders and awareness.
• All stakeholders should be officially integrated in the action plan.
• Ambient air has no boundaries. This means that local sources and transboundaryissues are equally important.
• Air quality is linked to meteorological conditions: wind speed and winddirection in particular.
• The problem of air pollution should be tackled under five heads: Sourceapportionment, best practices that can be followed by the community should beencouraged; mandatory practices that can be made mandatory; regulations;enforcement and penalization. A multipronged approach is required.
• Community participation is lagging at present.
• The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region alsomentions the need for a three-tier system to tackle monitoring and identification,safeguarding and enforcement and R&D.
• The current policies do not address the problems of the economically weaksection. It is important to first recognize the problems. Policy interventionsare needed at the very lower level.
• ACD formula: Analyze, Clean and Deliver.
• Action plans are there but have not percolated down to the public. They need tobe massively disseminated to the public.
• Action plans should be location specific and area specific, i.e., suited tolocal needs.