To meet air quality standards, Delhi needs a 65 % cut in pollution levels

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has released new results from its on-going analysis of air quality trends in Delhi to highlight Delhi’s struggle with air pollution and what it takes to tame and control pollution.

After the initiation of comprehensive clean air action plan and graded response action plan,there are early signs of stabilisation and bend in pollution curve, increased number of days in cleaner air quality index categories, and change in the pattern of smog episodes. 

According to the new data submitted by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to the Parliament in 2019, the annual average PM2.5 levels have stabilized and dropped in Delhi. The three-year average (2016 to 2018) has dropped by 25 % from the three-year average from 2012 and 2014. 

More granular air quality analysis for the period 2011 to 2018-19 shows early signs of stabilisation and bending of the pollution curve in Delhi. This good sign is visible not only in the long term annual trends but also in the way number of relatively cleaner days are increasing and the pattern of winter smog episodes are changing. But even after 25 per cent reduction from the baseline (three year average 2012-14) Delhi faces the challenge of further cut of 65 per cent to meet the clean air target. This shows what it takes to see real cuts in pollution. Other cities who are preparing plans under the National Clean Air Programme need to learn from this experience to get the right scale and stringency of action across all sectors and regions to meet clean air targets. Next generation challenge is about ability to frame effective solutions, build enforcement capability, and ensure compliance and accountability.

Anumita Roychowdhury, CSE

Read the full press release here.

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