Why are Pollution Control Boards missing the mark?

What are the institutional and informational barriers in the way of India meeting the National Ambient Ait Quality Standards (NAAQS)? To address this all important question, the Centre for Chronic Disease Control (CCDC) and Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) conducted a review of the literature and also spoke with members of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) as well as other stakeholders including researchers, bureaucrats and members of the civil society.
Findings from the analysis are detailed in a recently released report is entitled Strengthening Pollution Control Boards to achieve the national ambient air Quality Standards in India authored by Vidhushi Bahuguna and Bhargav Krishna. Download the report here.

Key barriers include lack of institutional capacity, domain expertise and coordination across departments and a disconnect between the understanding around air quality and its health effects.

While interventions that strengthen the legislative framework such as the recent ordinance are welcome, they will be as ineffective as previous efforts unless the regulatory bodies that enable their implementation are strengthened with the technical and financial resources needed. Protecting human health is why we have these laws, and to ensure that this goal is adequately achieved, public health must feature at the core of policymaking moving forward.

Bhargav Krishna, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI)

To address the gaps identified through the analysis, authors propose several steps including:

  • A significant review and overhaul of the personnel including training programmes and revisions to pay structures
  • Better coordination across departments and institutions
  • Focused development of Indian evidence base on health effects of air quality

Press Highlights

SPCBs have inadequate resources to enforce air quality standards: Study
Low on staff, motivation: Regulators fail to enforce air quality standards
खतरनाक स्तर पर हवा की गुणवत्ता, अब प्रदूषण नियंत्रण बोर्डों की मजबूती पर होगा काम

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