Steps Taken By Government for Prevention and Control of Pollution in India!
Realising the deteriorating air and water quality, increasing vehicular emission and higher noise levels, the MEF formulated a policy for abatement of pollution, which provides multi-pronged strategies in the form of regulations, legislations, agreements, fiscal incentives and other measures. Over the years, the thrust has shifted from curative measures to prevention and control through adoption of clean and low-waste technology, reuse and recycling, natural resource accounting, environmental audit and human resource development.
To give effect to environmental measures and policies for pollution control, various steps have been initiated, which include stringent regulations, development of environmental standards, control of vehicular pollution, spatial environmental planning including industrial estates and preparation of zoning atlas.
The scheme on development and promotion of clean technologies, therefore, aims at promoting such technologies and strategies.
An “Eco-mark” label has been introduced to put on consumer products that are environment-friendly. So far, the government has issued 19 notifications on different products criteria. Submission of an environmental statement by polluting units seeking consent either under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 or the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 or both and the authorisation under the Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989 has been made mandatory through a gazette notification in April 1993 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
The primary benefit of environmental audit is that it ensures cost-effective compliance of laws, standards, regulations and company policies, etc.
The policy statement for abatement of pollution lays emphasis on preventive aspects of pollution abatement and promotion of technologies to reduce pollution. As a part of the industrial pollution abatement through preventive strategies, financial assistance is being provided for establishment and running of waste minimisation circles in clusters of small-scale industries, capacity building in areas of cleaner production, establishment of demonstration units in selected industrial sectors, etc. The programme is being funded through National Productivity Council, which has pioneered in the activity.
A network of 295 Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations, covering 90 towns/cities all over the country, has been set up by Central Pollution Control Board in coordination with the State Pollution Control Boards/Pollution Control Committees and other institutions for carrying out regular monitoring.
The major objectives of the programme are:
(i) to ascertain whether the notified ambient air quality standards are maintained; (ii) to control and regulate pollution from various sources; (iii) to understand the natural cleansing process in the environment through pollution dilution, dispersion, wind-based movement, dry deposition, precipitation and chemical transformation of pollutants generated; and (iv) health impacts.
Under National Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP), four air pollutants, viz., sulphur dioxide (S02), oxides of nitrogen as NO2, Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) and Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM/PM10), have been identified for regular monitoring at all the locations. Besides this, additional parameters such as respirable lead and other toxic trace metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are also being monitored in seven metro cities of the country.
The monitoring of meteorological parameters, such as wind speed and direction, relative humidity and temperature, was also integrated with the monitoring of air quality. The monitoring of pollutants is carried out for 24 hours with a frequency of twice a week, to have 104 observations in a year.
As vehicular emission is the major cause for deterioration of urban ambient air quality, The MEF is facilitating and coordinating controlling of vehicular pollution in the field with the concerned ministries and its associated bodies/organisations including the Ministry of Surface Transport, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and the Ministry of Industry, in areas such as up gradation of automobile technology, improvement in fuel quality, expansion of urban public transport systems and promotion of integrated traffic management, etc. The gross emission standards for vehicles have been prescribed from time to time and a road map is prepared to improve the quality of fuel.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), an autonomous body of the MEF, was set up in September 1974, under the provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. It coordinates the activities of the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) and Pollution Control Committees (PCCs), and also advises the Central Government on all matters concerning the prevention and control of environmental pollution.
CPCB, SPCBs and PCCs are responsible for implementing the legislation, regulations and guidelines relating to prevention and control of pollution; they also develop rules and regulations which prescribe the standards for emissions and effluents of air and water pollutants and noise levels. CPCB also provides technical services to the MEF for implementing the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.