ANI Photo | Congress leader Jairam Ramesh calls for total revamp of Air Pollution Act amid worsening AQI

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Friday raised concerns over the rise in air pollution in the country and called for a total revamp of the Air Pollution Act and air quality standards to make them stringent and effective.
This came after the air quality in several parts of the national capital reeled under the ‘severe’ category on Friday morning with Mundka recording the highest Air Quality Index (498).
As per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the AQI in the Lodhi Road area was recorded at 438, in Jahangirpuri at 491, in the RK Puram area and in IGI Airport (T3) at 486 and 473 respectively.
Taking to the social media platform, X, the Congress Rajya Sabha MP said that air pollution hits the headlines mostly in November when the nation’s capital chokes.
“The Air Pollution (Control and Prevention) Act came into being in 1981. Thereafter, ambient air quality standards were announced in April 1994 and later revised in October 1998. In November 2009, after a thorough review by IIT Kanpur and other institutions a more stringent and wide-ranging National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) was put into effect. This covered 12 pollutants considered very detrimental to public health,” he wrote.
Posting a press note about the revised National Ambient Air Quality Standards 2009, Jairam said, “The press note that accompanied the implementation of NAAQS reveals the thinking for the significant shift that took place then. It is now time for a revisit and a total revamp of both the Act and the NAAQS. Over the past decade and more, compelling evidence has accumulated on the impacts of air pollution on public health. In January 2014, an expert Steering Committee on Air Pollution and Health Related Issues was set up and this submitted its report in August 2015.”
“Since then the weaknesses in our enforcement machinery of both the law and the standards along with the emasculation of the National Green Tribunal have become painfully evident,” he said further.
Hitting out at the National Clean Air Programme, launched in 2019, the Congress leader said that the Centre’s programme is chugging along without having any marked impacts.
“The National Clean Air Programme is chugging along without having any marked impacts. Air pollution hits the headlines mostly in November when the nation’s capital chokes. But it is a daily agony across the country all round the year,” the Congress MP’s post on X read further

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