Central Pollution Control Board

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India is a statutory organisation constituted in September, 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. It was later entrusted with additional responsibilities under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

History & Evolution

Initially set up to control water pollution by enforcing effluent standards, CPCB’s mandate was expanded through additional legislation over the years:

  • 1981: Responsibilities for air quality management under the 1981 Air Act
  • 1986: Broader environmental protection functions under the 1986 Environment Protection Act

Over nearly five decades, CPCB has evolved into an apex national-level organization for pollution control.

Objectives & Responsibilities

CPCB aims to improve environmental quality through prevention, control and abatement of pollution across India. Its major responsibilities include:

  • Monitoring nationwide air and water quality
  • Generating environmental statistics and scientific information
  • Setting and enforcing effluent/emission standards for industries
  • Providing technical inputs to central and state pollution control boards
  • Building capacities of personnel through training
  • Conducting industry inspections and enforcing pollution control laws
  • Creating public awareness on environmental issues

Structure & Composition

  • Headquartered in New Delhi, CPCB has 7 zonal offices and 5 specialized labs across India catering to 29 states and 5 union territories.
  • It has around 500 employees including scientists, engineers, environmental experts led by a Chairperson and Member Secretary appointed by the central government.
  • Some key divisions at headquarters include Pollution Assessment, Legal, Hazardous Waste, Environmental Training, Enforcement, IT, etc. Zonal offices execute monitoring, inspections and enforcement.

Major Initiatives

  • CPCB runs the National Air and Water Quality Monitoring Programmes covering over 800 stations. It has also developed environmental indicators for major river basins and cities.
  • Other initiatives include the Eco-City Program to improve urban environments and the implementation of Municipal Solid Waste Rules.
  • CPCB continually builds capacities, guideline documents and action plans to strengthen pollution monitoring and control across sectors.


As India’s premier agency dealing with pollution, CPCB plays a pivotal technical and advisory role. Further enhancing monitoring reach, data utilization, enforcement and coordination between central and state agencies can help CPCB become more impactful in managing India’s pollution crisis.

Leave a Reply