T.S. Panwar, and Sumit Sharma; Center of Environmental Studies, TERI- Delhi, India


Urban air quality is an issue of major concern across many cities and towns in India. In particular, high levels of particulate matter (both SPM and RSPM) are responsible for non-compliance against air quality standards. Keeping in view the severity of the problem, the Supreme Court has identified 16 cities for which action plans need to be prepared for improvement of urban air quality. This paper analyses the status of air quality in the 16 cities identified for priority action. Each city has its own unique problems depending on the nature of activities being undertaken. Thus, three cities, Pune, Lucknow, and Faridabad, which represent a top-ten urban agglomerate (based on population), a predominantly residential city and an industrial town are chosen for detailed analyses of the air quality problem. The causal factors for poor air quality are determined and sectoral emission loads are estimated for each city adopting a uniform approach that facilitates comparative evaluation. These provide an estimate of the major contributors to air pollution with specific reference to particulate matter, which is a major pollutant of concern. For each of these cities, an air quality management plan is suggested that specifically accounts for the contributing factors in each city. Further, quantitative estimates of the likely improvements due to implementation of some of the specific measures are also provided. An overall comparative assessment of the air quality issues across different cities can provide useful insights in the development of the management plan for the remaining cities as well.

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