Abstract of Paper on Strategy for Control of Urban Air Pollution

By S. K. Gupta
Chapter Secretary- Indian Association for Air Pollution Control

All Human activities generate large quantities of emissions that would otherwise be not present in the atmosphere. These activities which include Household, industrial or travel produces a variety of pollutants like CO, Oxides of Sulphure, Nitrogen, Particulates and VOC’s. Some of these are visible and some are non-visible and each one of them has its own range of health and environmental impacts. In the recent past, with strict regulations and availability of technology, it has been possible to control the emissions to a large extent from Household and Industrial activities. It has also been possible to reduce vehicular emissions through the use of better fuels like unleaded petrol, low sulphur diesel, better design of vehicles and alternative fuels like CNG, However the rapid growth in number of vehicles on road and excessive vehicle usage has out weighted all the advantages derived through these various efforts and today vehicular emissions are the largest contributor of pollutants in the urban atmosphere and is increasing day by day. In 1960, it was around 20%, 40% in 1990 and it is now close to 70% of the total. The increasing Human population, better purchasing power, urban sprawl and poorly planned communities would worsen the situation further. Increased vehicular emissions are also responsible for increase in Noise and odour levels, poor visibility, haze and smog formation in urban areas. A continuation of this trend without effective intervention would see quality of life deteriorate in the long term, placing the community’s health and well being and the amenity and livability at risk. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop a long term strategy to achieve clean and healthy urban air. This paper highlights some of the strategic steps which needs to be taken to ensure this. All of us have to play a vital role and collective effort would only make a big and significant difference.

A. B. Objective: Clean & Healthy Urban Environment APPROACH 1. Reduce emissions from main sources of pollution i.e. Transport Industry Household and Commercial Activities 2. Improve understanding of air pollution process for future developments in the above three sector 3. Improve air quality through planning and alternative mechanism. STRATEGY 1. Reduce the need for car travel 2. Reduce emissions from vehicles in use 3. Reduce emissions from refuse burning house hold and commercial activities 4. Improve industry performance 5. Research and Development for air quality management 6. Improve air quality through planning. Put in place – local area committees to identify needs, implement and monitor the policy.


Focus on: Reducing vehicular emission by promoting use of alternative mods of managing travel demands. A Typical Contribution of Vehicular Emissions NOx Pm10 VOC CO SO2 70% 65% 65% 85% 8% Emissions that are not likely to improve with technology are: NOx VOC’s Only a reduction in the overall use of vehicles will reduce these emission Reasons for excessive vehicle use 1. Urban Sprawl – Demand for travel between suburbs. People rely on own cars for commuting, shopping & recreation as they find it to be more reliable, convenient, safer and in some cases cheaper than public transport. Poor Integration of Land use and Transport – People have to unnecessarily commute from one end to another due to non-centralized location of activity centers (e.g. Electricity/Water, House Tax, Telephone, Post Office, Bank Police, Schools.) Non-Availability of Community facilities within walking distance of Habitats – People make many short trips for buying conveniences and (These are highly polluting. Cold engines putout more pollutants than warm ones) transport and



RECOMMENDATION People would change their travel behaviour provided they have an adequate alternative This is possible by : 1. Improving urban amenity and community accessibility to local activities via walking and cycling pathways facilities. (e.g. improve local infrastructure –rather than concentrating on improving Ring Roads alone). 2. Improving public transport by increasing converge and quality of service 3. Upgrading transport infrastructure to cater for public transport 4. Launch programmes aimed at changing travel behaviour e.g.
a) b) c) Shed your car day- Identify rewards for not driving School travel programme – (shift home close to schools sard children in group accompanied by elder person/Maid as was the practice in old days in India) Work place travel plan programme. (Car pools, shift house near work place)

One day car shedding can reduce Air Pollution by 10%
Many short trips contribute significantly to peak hour congestion and inordinate amount of air pollution. The way we plan over communities is integral to our capacity to reduce car dependency. The ultimate goal of each resident living close to work, shops, schools and public transport is a long way off and depends upon a massive coordination effort between various agencies as today, many people now live in one region and work in another.

Focus on: Reducing emission from a active vehicles in use: a) b) Promoting use of cleaner fuels. (Adopt strict fuel standards) Improving vehicle maintenance Regular inspection and maintenance of vehicles have the ability to reduce or minimize excessive emissions from in service vehicles by ensuring that cars be maintained to manufacturer specs and the emission control systems are functioning properly. Encouraging use of cleaner vehicle emission technology Development of cleaner engine technology now offers many alternatives like H2 fuel cells, electric-petrol hybrid vehicles, CNG/LPG, bio diesel and fuel free vehicles like ELECTRIC VEHICLES. Prevent over loading.



Contribution of Industrial Sources: (Man Made Contribution) PM SO2 NOX VOC 60% 75% 16% 4% TYPICAL MAIN SOURCES • Thermal Power Houses • Refineries • Metal Processing Recovery Units • Stone Crushers • DG Sets RECOMMENDATIONS • USE of batter technologies can help reduce emissions • Proper siting of such units can prevent pollution • Regular monitorings help to gain insights • Compliance to ISO-14001 by industries operating in urban areas would improve industry performance.

Focus on: Developing Understanding Effective air quality management requires a clear understanding of the issues that influences the quality of the air we breath. Predominantly the relationship between emissions and ambient air quality needs to be better understood to gauge the extent of air quality problem in an urban area. Despite current knowledge, there is still much to be learnt about factors and relationships that affect air quality. RECOMMENDATION
1. 2. 3. 4. Fund project to develop accurate source inventories dispersion models and validation there of. Fund projects to develop standards of amenty, conservation, energy, health and safety Fund research on development of air quality indicators for different urban areas. Fund research to monitor their carcinogen, air toxics and epidemiological studies. Intensive and Extensive monitorings combined with research and technological development. This will improve our knowledge and understanding of the issue and processes that affect air quality and would help in finding effective local and regional solutions.


Focus on: Minimizing exposure of residents to pollutants
Exposures can be due to:
1. Ambient air pollution – Mixture of pollutants from local source as well as from distant sources 2. Fugitive emissions 3. Indoor air pollutants It can be appreciated that it is more effective to plan to prevent air pollution than to control after development. Prevention measures one the best way to avoid or reduce impacts on both the indoor and out door environment.

1. 2. 3. Switchover to cleaner production, best manufacturing/process or practices. Encourage and reward industries to use opportunities to reduce emissions. Develop interface between land use and transport plan that reduces car dependency. Launch Awareness programmes to inform that the air indoors can be more polluted than the out door air. Give information about products which produces pollution and their pollution impacts so that people curtail their use. Reward good houses/offices that comply with the standards (e.g. Rebate in house tax) Create opportunity for community involvement in decision making. Setup local area committee to take decision.


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