You are on page 1of 26





We would like to thank our Course Director Smt Yashashri Shukla for
providing us this opportunity to going in to the burning issue of Air Pollution
Of Indian Cities and in Particular Delhi.
We also thank other Staff for various supports provided during writing of this
References are given at the last page of various sources used for gathering
relevant data for this paper.

We acknowledge contributions of all members of NIFM.

Group 3 (Mentioned in Detail at First Page)
26th PTC Batch
National Institute of Financial Management.

Pure air is a mixture of various gases such as nitrogen, oxygen, argon, carbon
dioxide, and small amount of other gases in a fixed proportion. If the
composition of air alters by any means; it is known as air pollution, which can
lead to effects on human health, environment, and other living creatures.
According to The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, “air
pollution is the presence of any solid, liquid, or gaseous substance in the
atmosphere in such concentration as may be or tend to be injurious to human
beings or other living creatures or plants or property or environment”.
Air pollution has now become a serious issue of concern and many of the
countries in the world such as Pakistan, Iran, India, UAE, and China etc. are
formulating strategies to deal with it. There are a number of factors responsible
for the altered composition of the ambient air which can be mainly categorised
as natural causes and anthropogenic (man-made) causes.

Natural sources: Natural sources of air pollution include volcanic activity,
dust, sea-salt, forest fires, lightening, soil outgassing etc.
Anthropogenic sources: These sources include stationary point sources (e.g.
emission from industries), mobile sources (e.g. vehicular emission, marine
vessels, airplanes etc.), waste disposal landfills, open burning etc

Air pollutant
Air pollutants are the substances which are responsible for causing air pollution
.They can be classified into number of ways depending upon various means

On the basis of source of origin

1. Natural air Pollutants : Natural air pollutants are emitted from natural
sources such as volcanic activity, dust, etc.
2. Anthropogenic air pollutants: These pollutants include the emissions from
stationary point sources (e.g. emission from industries), mobile sources (e.g.
vehicular emission, marine vessels, airplanes etc.), waste disposal landfills,
controlled burning.
On the basis of method of origin
1. Primary air pollutants: Those pollutants which are emitted directly from any
emission source in the atmosphere are termed as primary air pollutants, e.g.
sulphur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), lead (Pb), ammonia (NH3) etc.
2. Secondary air pollutants: Secondary pollutants are formed by the reactions
between primary air pollutants and normal atmospheric constituents. In some of
the cases, these pollutants are formed by utilizing the solar energy, e.g. ozone,
peroxyacetylnitrate (PAN), smog etc.
On the basis of state of matter
1. Gaseous air pollutants: Pollutants which are in the form of gas are termed as
gaseous air pollutants, e.g. SO2, NOX, O3, CO etc.
2. Particulate air pollutants: Particulate air pollutants or particulate matter (PM)
can be defined as the microscopic solid or liquid matter suspended in the earth’s
atmosphere. There are various subtypes of particulate matter:
a. Total Suspended Particulate Matter (TSPM): The concentration of
particulate matter which is obtained when a high volume bulk sampling is done
on a filter substrate. It includes particles of all sizes.
b. PM10: These are the particles less than 10 µm in diameter
c. PM2.5: These are the particles less than 2.5 µm in diameter
d. PM1.0: These are the particles less than 1 µm in diameter
Particles which lie between 10µm to 2.5µm are termed as ‘coarse particles’
whereas particles with diameter less than 2.5µm are called as ‘fine particles’.
Fine particles also include ultra-fine particles of size less than 0.1 µm (PM0.1)
Air pollution is like a cancerous disease which is eating slowly, maybe not
perceptible in short rung, but will surely have disastrous and lethal impacts in
the long run. Breathing in Delhi has been compared by none other than
honourable Supreme court of India, as breathing in a “GAS CHAMBER”.
As per WHO, life expectancy can increase by more than 4 years for the Delhiite
,if the standard of air in Delhi become at par with international standards.
Providing a healthy and clean environment is imperative for the fuller
development, and it is the basic duty of every government to provide such
conditions to its citizens. It is also necessary for future generations welfare.

Air pollution is a global public health emergency. 92% of the world’s

population lives in places where air quality exceeds WHO limits. About 6.5
million deaths – 1 in 9 deaths worldwide – is due to air pollution-related
diseases. Air pollution is one of the largest causes of the four top
noncommunicable diseases – stroke, lung cancer, chronic respiratory disease
and heart disease – accounting for between one-third and one-quarter of those
deaths. Air pollution is also responsible for 50% of childhood pneumonia
Air pollution’s position in SDGs is cloudy. In the SDGs, there is no headline
goal on air pollution. Air pollution is mentioned in 2 targets, under health
(SDG3) and cities (SDG11), but shares these targets with other issues. Air
pollution is mentioned directly in one corresponding target, and indirectly in
In principle, air pollution can be indirectly related to other targets specified
under the goals for Water (SDG 6) in terms of improved water quality and
restoration of water related ecosystems, Industry (SDG 9) in terms of
environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, Cities (SDG 11)
in terms of sustainable transport systems, Climate (SDG 13) in terms of
integrating climate change measures into national policies, and Land (SDG 15)
in terms of restoring sustainable use of ecosystems. In particular, land and
ecosystems could be related to acid rain, and climate could be related to co-
benefits. However, air pollution is not mentioned specifically.
A broad perspective illustrates that air pollution is linked in principle to most of
the SDGs, either in terms of causes (energy, industry, transport), the
measurement of air pollution itself, and impacts such as damages to ecosystems
and health.
While the SDGs are already decided, the implementation process is still being
developed. There may still be time to influence the indicator development
process. There are still some possibilities to incorporate or highlight pollution
by considering possible special segments on the HLPF, perhaps as a cross
cutting issue. National and local governments are only just beginning to think
about SDGs, and some of them may want to give more priority to air pollution.
The air pollution community may consider closer linkage between its
cooperation mechanisms and SDGs. This could be done either through concrete
cooperation between air pollution and SDG frameworks, or through unilateral
analysis and efforts.



What is the State of Global Air?

The State of Global Air report brings into one place the most recent
information available on levels and trends in air quality and health for countries
around the globe. This year we focus not only on ambient (outdoor) air
pollution but also, for the first time, on household air pollution from the burning
of solid fuels for cooking and heating, a major contributor to pollution both
inside and outside the home.

Fine particle air pollution is the largest environmental risk factor worldwide,
responsible for a substantially larger number of attributable deaths than other
more well-known behavioural risk factors such as alcohol use, physical
inactivity, or high sodium intake.
Ninety-five percent of the world’s population lives in areas exceeding WHO
Guideline for healthy air. Nearly 60% lives in areas that do not meet even the
least-stringent air quality target from WHO.
Delhi has lost the gains of its CNG programme. Its air is increasingly becoming
more polluted and unbreathable, bringing back the pre-CNG days when diesel-
driven buses and autos had made it one of the most polluted cities on earth.
In the past five years, the city has done all it can to reduce pollution. It has
advanced emission norms of vehicles; strengthened its ‘pollution under control’
system with new equipment; capped the number of its autorickshaws; converted
buses to CNG; made it mandatory for new light commercial vehicles to run on
CNG; and restricted commercial vehicles from entering the city.
But in spite of all these actions, pollution levels are on the rise. Delhi has more
than four million registered vehicles. Currently, the city adds over 1,000 new
personal vehicles each day on its roads. This is almost double what was added
in the city in pre-CNG days. And a considerable number of these vehicles run
on diesel.


Global carbon emissions from fossil fuels have significantly increased since
1900. Since 1970, CO2 emissions have increased by about 90%, with emissions
from fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes contributing about 78% of
the total greenhouse gas emissions increase from 1970 to 2011. Agriculture,
deforestation, and other land-use changes have been the second-largest

Emissions by Countries
The top carbon dioxide (CO2) emitters were China, the United States, the
European Union, India, the Russian Federation, and Japan. These data include
CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion, as well as cement manufacturing
and gas flaring. Together, these sources represent a large proportion of total
global CO2 emissions.
Emissions and sinks related to changes in land use are not included in these
estimates. However, changes in land use can be important: estimates indicate
that net global greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, forestry, and other
land use were over 8 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent,[2] or about 24% of
total global greenhouse gas emissions.[3] In areas such as the United States and
Europe, changes in land use associated with human activities have the net effect
of absorbing CO2, partially offsetting the emissions from deforestation in other








Trends in Air Pollution

"Air pollution steals our livelihoods and our futures," said Yeb Sano, executive director
of Greenpeace Southeast Asia. Besides that human lives lost, there's an estimated global cost
of 225 billion dollars in lost labour and trillions in medical costs. India, with 18% of the world’s
population, has a disproportionately high 26% of the global premature deaths and disease
burden due to air pollution. Moreover, one in eight deaths in India was attributable to air
pollution in India in 2017, making it a leading risk factor for death.
The problem is particularly pronounced in South Asia. Eighteen of the world's top 20 most
polluted cities are in India, Pakistan or Bangladesh, including the major population centres
Lahore, Delhi and Dhaka which placed 10th, 11th and 17th respectively last year. While Delhi
remains the most polluted city in the world in 2017, an estimated 7 million people across the
globe are dying each year from exposure to ambient and household air pollution, World Health
Organization (WHO) reported.
Trends Over the years in Delhi:

As reports of The Hindu had reported earlier, there was not even a single day of ‘good’
quality air in the entire of 2016. The trends took worse shape particularly in December-
November. The Hindu looked at publicly available air quality data (PM 2.5 concentration)
from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for five monitoring stations across
Delhi: Punjabi Bagh, RK Puram, Mandir Marg, Anand Vihar and Shadipur.
Across all stations, the highest level of PM 2.5 concentration was witnessed in the previous
week — way more than that on Diwali night of both 2015 and 2016.
If we check the graph higher the concentration of PM2.5 in the air,
the more harmful it is for your health. The green region in the following charts
shows the permissible level of particulate matter — PM 2.5 concentration
less than 60 µg/m3. First, look at Anand Vihar, located in East Delhi. The air
quality in this region was the worst among all. On 5th and 6th
November,2017 PM 2.5 concentration was 783 and 858 µg/m3 — around 1.7
times that of the previous peak observed in January that year when the
concentration was at 520 µg/m3.
In West Delhi, lie Shadipur and Punjabi Bagh. Trends were similar.

Towards the South West, we have RK Puram station. Six of the seven worst days in
the last 17 months fell in the last week itself, starting on the day of Diwali.
Mandir Marg station in Central Delhi is no different.

Over the year, air pollution in Delhi shows marked regional variation. This time,
however, air quality has surpassed the regional divide — it’s extremely poor air all


Various players contribute to the phenomenon of Air pollution.The below
described are not exhaustive and the important contributors are briefly
explained here.

Energy industry-Coal fired power plants:

Air pollution from coal-fired power plants is large and varied and contributes
to a significant number of negative environmental and health effects. When coal
is burned to generate electricity, the combustion releases a combination of toxic
chemicals into the environment, and thus the human body
Coal combustion releases carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur
dioxide, particulate matter (PM), mercury, and dozens of other substances known
to be hazardous to human health.
Such emissions include:
Nitrogen oxides (NOx). The release of oxides of nitrogen (nitrogen oxides and
nitrogen dioxides [NO2]) reacts with volatile organic compounds in the presence
of sunlight to produce ground-level ozone, the primary ingredient in smog.
Nitrogen oxide also contributes to fine particulate matter, or soot. Both smog and
soot are linked to a host of serious health effects. Nitrogen oxide also harms the
environment, contributing to acidification of lakes and streams (acid rain). Sulfur
dioxide (SO2). Sulfur dioxide contributes to the formation of microscopic
particles (particulate pollution or soot) that can be inhaled deep into the lungs and
aggravate respiratory conditions such as asthma and chronic bronchitis,
increasing cough and mucous secretion.
Mercury (HG). Coal contains trace amounts of mercury that, when burned, enter
the environment and human bodies, effecting intellectual development.
Particulate matter (PM), also known as particle pollution, includes the tiny
particles of fly ash and dust that are expelled from coal-burning power plants.
Fine particles are a mixture of a variety of different compounds and pollutants
that originate primarily from combustion sources such as power plants, but also
diesel trucks and buses, cars, etc. Fine particles are either emitted directly from
these combustion sources or are formed in the atmosphere through complex
oxidation reactions involving gases, such as Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) or nitrogen
oxides (NOX). Among particles, fine particles are of particular concern because
they are so tiny that they can be inhaled deeply, thus evading the human lungs'
natural defense.

Transport sector
Passenger vehicles are a major pollution contributor, producing significant
amounts of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and other pollution. In 2013,
transportation contributed more than half of the carbon monoxide and nitrogen
oxides, and almost a quarter of the hydrocarbons emitted into our air.
within certain size classes: PM10 or coarse (with an aerodynamic diameter of
less than 10 micron) and PM2.5 or fine (with an aerodynamic diameter of less
than 2.5 micron). PM2.5 has a greater residing time in air when compared to
PM10 because of the balance between the downward acting force of gravity and
aerodynamic drag force. Particulates are the main component of air
pollution and its harm to human body has already been proved by
epidemiology. The extent of particulate’s harm is pertinent to the aerodynamic
diameter, chemical composition and the category of the emission sources.
Stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana contributed to 32 per cent of Delhi's
overall pollution on Saturday, according to a report by the Centre-run System of
Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).


Factors contributing to air pollution:

The sources of air pollution are both natural and human based. Atmospheric pollution
originates from all the parts of the world and travels all around. Air pollution can have
serious consequences for the health of human beings, and also severely affects natural
ecosystems. This trans-boundary nature of air pollution makes it even more dangerous
and difficult to control. Some areas now suffer more than others from air pollution.

Natural Causes of Air Pollution:

(i) Forest Fires:

A fire that occurs in a highly infested area through natural causes is known as a bush fire,
and this is a very potent natural source of air pollution. These fires spread very rapidly,
and release pollutants like smoke and carbon monoxide into the atmosphere. Though
carbon monoxide is present in living bodies in small amounts, it can be toxic in nature
when sniffed in larger amounts. Forest fires also lead to unpredictable weather changes
and cyclones, and all this leads to a severe loss of life in the long run.

(ii) Volcanic Eruptions:

A volcano is an open fissure on the surface of the earth through which lava and volcanic
ash escapes on a regular basis. Carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide are the primary gases
that are released during volcanic eruptions, and these lead to dire consequences to the
earth’s atmosphere and to all the life forms that reside there. Other gases like hydrogen
sulphide, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen fluoride, carbon monoxide, halocarbons and some
metal chlorides are also released into the atmosphere in smaller traces.

(iii) Wind Erosion:

Though dust particles and dirt do not cause toxic effects on the human body, they are
capable of inducing many respiratory diseases in human beings. These dust particles
move around in the atmosphere due to strong winds, especially in geographical areas
where wind erosion is a common occurrence.

(iv) Methane Expulsion:

Farm animals like cattle release methane into the atmosphere during the end stages of
their digestive cycles. Methane gas affects the ozone layer in the atmosphere since it is a
very potent greenhouse gas, and it is also highly inflammable when it combines with
other elements in the air.

(v) Radon Expulsion:

Nuclear elements like uranium are found inside the earth surface, and when these
elements decompose they release a noble gas known as Radon into the atmosphere. This
gas is highly radioactive in nature, and it can cause some serious health damage to people
who breathe the air that contain it. Interestingly, after smoking, Radon intake is the
second largest contributing factor to lung cancer in human beings.

Anthropogenic Sources of Air Pollution:

Industries are the main cause of anthropogenic air pollution. The global industrial
development gave rise to a large number of economic sectors, each generating air
pollution to some degree.
Some major sources and types of major air pollutants produced by each of them are
shown in Table 3:

Factors specific to Delhi:

National capital shares its border with the states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. One of
the main reasons of increasing air pollution levels in Delhi is crop burning by the farmers
in these states. It is estimated that approximately 35 million tonnes of crop are set afire by
these states

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the National Environmental
Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) have declared vehicular emission as a major
contributor to Delhi’s increasing air pollution. The air quality index has reached ‘severe’
levels. Large scale construction in Delhi-NCR is another culprit that is increasing dust
and pollution in the air. Industrial pollution and garbage dumps are also increasing air
pollution and building-up smog in the air. Despite the ban on cracker sales, firecrackers
were a common sight this Diwali.

Policy on The Matter; Enough or Need Intervention.

Policy measures:
National clean air program ( NCAP): The NCAP will be a mid-term,
five-year action plan with 2019 as the first year.

● Delhi government's odd even policy:

odd-even rule was rolled out from November 13 to November 17, 2017.

● Formulation of Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) by CPCB for

Delhi NCR.

● Ban on pet coke in Delhi and NCR; strict surveillance over coal-fired
plants; strict action against construction activities; regular field
surveillance by CPCB.

● Launching a Mobile App called SAMEER for grievance redressal.

● The State Transport Department has banned the entry of heavy and
medium goods vehicles into the national capital for few days.

Yet notwithstanding to the various efforts by the central as well as state

government the quality of air in Delhi NCR is still bad for health.Therefore
some other policy measures demand greater attention.

Other measures suggested:

Car Pooling: Reduce traffic-based air pollution and congestion by starting car
pool lanes for those cars and four wheelers that have three or more passengers
to encourage people to go for car Pooling.
Public transport: Encourage greater use of public transport by supporting the
Metro, overhead rail and bus services to make it convenient for people to travel
by public transport affordably and safely instead of using their own vehicles.

More CNG vehicles: Encourage use of CNG in motor vehicles as it is a much

cleaner fuel than petrol or diesel by likeconsiderably reducing the road tax and
sales tax on CNG filled cars as compared to petrol and diesel four wheelers.

Shared taxis: The transport department should encourage shared taxi services
by developing a taxi sharing website and set up taxi stands and cabs to offer
reduced fares for shared service.

Dump sites: Landfills should be better managed by the government to ensure

there are no fires there.

These citizen centric measures with sustained engagement with neighbouring

states with regards to the control of paddy burning will go a long way to clean
worsening air quality of the capital



The Government has made serious efforts to deal with air pollution. Data for
the year 2017 for PM 2.5 shows an improvement over 2016 and so far in 2018,
it shows a further improvement, as compared to 2017.
Graph1:Showing improvement in 2018

The Government has also taken several bold initiatives, including leap-frogging
from BS-IV to BS-VI. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has already
taken action in the matter. In July 2016, all non-attainment cities were given a
set of 42 action points for improving on air quality. As a follow-up, 94 non-
attainment cities were also asked to prepare detailed action plans for improving
upon air quality depending on their local conditions. CPCB also organised
seven workshops at various locations in different states, in which guidelines for
preparing these plans were disseminated.
Significant action has been taken in Delhi and NCR, including the formulation
of Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) by CPCB. Other measures taken
include - a comprehensive action plan by Ministry of Environment, Forest and
Climate Change, which includes:
a) ban on petcoke in Delhi and NCR;
b) strict surveillance over coal-fired plants;
c) strict action against construction activities;
d) regular field surveillance by CPCB teams starting from September 2017;
e) augmentation of air quality monitoring stations in Delhi and NCR;
f) upgradation of Central Control Room in CPCB;
g) integration of data on air quality from stations of Indian Meteorological
Department (IMD);
h) launching a Mobile App called SAMEER for grievance redressal;
i) coordinate action at national-level through a high-level task force in the
j) Central government scheme to encourage in-situ management of crop
residue and reduce stubble burning;
k) regular monitoring and directions by the Minister and Secretary,
Besides, National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) was launched by MoEFCC in
April, 2018 and this was preceded by Clean Air Programme in Delhi in
February 2018 to sensitise the public in general and implementing agencies in
Apart from NCR, other cities have taken initiatives to curtail the menace of air
pollution too. Some of the successes in controlling air pollution in various cities
1) The capital city of Delhi formed 52 cross-government teams to ensure
implementation of its Graded Response Action Plan during peak
pollution season.
2) The city of Ahmedabad implemented its health-based plan to protect
citizens from high levels of air pollution.
3) Nagpur, in partnership with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board
(MPCB) and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute
(NEERI), has developed a comprehensive action plan to reduce air
pollution in the city.
4) Pune is making efforts to reduce traffic congestion and near-roadway air
pollution by promoting non-motorized transport.
5) Raipur has achieved a reduction in local particulate matter pollution over
two consecutive years. Continuous stack emission monitoring systems
were installed in over 145 industries and 118 rolling mills.


With the rising urbanisation and increase in GDP, the consumer expenditure on
private vehicles has increased. It will continue as only 32% of population in
India live in cities (census 2011). The urban population will reach 50% in 2050
and the demand for vehicles will increase causing congestion, thus adding to air
pollution further.
Graph2:Shows increasing vehicle numbers over the years

An eye-opening and embarrassing moment for India came last year when, as
millions of people watched a televised cricket match, the game was stopped,
and a player from the Sri Lankan team started throwing up, hardly able to
breathe due to the polluted air that he was inhaling.
Next door in China, the situation is mixed. On one hand, despite the scale of the
problem there, it is being hailed as a champion in the war against air pollution.
Earlier this year, Greenpeace said in a report that concentrations of fine particles
known as PM 2.5, which are a notable health risk, dropped 33 per cent
compared to the previous year in Beijing, Tianjin and 26 other cities.

When compared globally, Delhi has worst performance in air quality according
to WHO Air Quality Guidelines.
Graph3:Comparison of Delhi with other Metropolitans

All these scenarios present a gloomy picture but there is a silver lining in this
cloud of air pollution. China was facing the same problem a few years back.
Due to active involvement of the government and awareness among the people,
China is performing well in controlling air pollution. Although the same steps
can’t be repeated in India, there can be a study by committee using the case of
India has shown leadership quality in the COP21 of UNFCCC and the same is
needed at home to make our cities and our country liveable again.

1. Institute for global environmental studies

2. Central pollution control board