WHO revises Air Quality norms

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revised its global air quality guidelines and recommended more stringent standards for key pollutants.

Key facts

  • WHO set the new standards in the first update of its air quality guidelines since 2005.
  • PM 2.5 norms for 24 hours average has been changed to 15 micro-g/m3 against 25 micro-g/m3 in 2005.
  • While the PM 2.5 norms for annual average has been changed to 5 micro-g/m3 against the 10 micro-g/m3 in 2005.

Where does India stand?

At the current relaxed standards, most of the Indian cities fail to meet these levels. Annual PM 2.5 average in India is at 40 micro-g/m3 against the annual limit of 10 micro-g/m3 (2005) by WHO. As a result, India needs to revise its air quality standards to make them more stringent.

Steps taken by India

Under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), India is committed to minimise 20-30 per cent of air pollution in cities. To check the stubble-burning, Bio-decomposer will be used on 6 lakh acres land in UP, 1 lakh acres land in Haryana and 7,413 acres land in Punjab. Use of bio-decomposers is part of the action plan of preventing and controlling stubble burning in Delhi-NCR region.

About NCAP

NCAP was launched in January 2019 by the MoEFCC. It is the first-ever effort in India to frame a national framework for the management of air quality with a time-bound reduction target. This action plan seeks to reduce the concentration of coarse and fine particles by at least 20% in the next five years (base year 2017). This plan comprises of 102 non-attainment cities in 23 states and Union territories. These cities were identified by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) by analysing their ambient air quality data between 2011 and 2015.




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