Context: Air pollution was, is and will remain the greatest risk to human life as per the Air Quality Life Index estimation.

Findings of Index:

  • Approximately 25% of Indian population is exposed to unprecedented levels of air pollution and 84% population lives in areas having poor air quality than the country's own standards.
  • The last two decades saw a 42% rise in air pollution levels in India.
  • An average indian can live 5 more years if air pollution levels are reduced to WHO standards.
  • State Specific Data:
    • Nearly 230 million residents of Uttar Pradesh are on track to lose more than eight years of life expectancy relative to the WHO guideline.
    • Similarly Delhi can add 9 years, West Bengal 7 years and Haryana 6 years by adhering to the standards.

The Air Quality Life Index

  • It converts air pollution concentrations into their impact on life expectancy. 
  • It helps determine the benefits of air pollution policies in perhaps the most important measure that exists: longer lives.
  • It is produced by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), based on frontier research by EPIC’s director Michael Greenstone that quantified the causal relationship between human exposure to air pollution and reduced life expectancy.
  • It makes evident that policies that reduce fossil fuel use can allow people to live longer and healthier lives today, as well as reduce the risks of disruptive climate change.


National Clean Air Program:

  • Objectives:
    • To augment and evolve effective and proficient ambient air quality monitoring networks across the country for ensuring a comprehensive and reliable database.
    • To have efficient data dissemination and public outreach mechanism for timely measures for prevention and mitigation of air pollution
    • To ensure inclusive public participation in both planning and implementation of the programmes and policies of government on air pollution
    • To have a feasible management plan for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution.
  • The Environment Ministry launched it in 2019 and selected 102 cities in 23 states and UTs under the program.
  • The tentative national level target of 20% – 30% reduction of PM2.5 and PM10 concentration by 2024 is proposed under the NCAP taking 2017 as the base year for the comparison of concentration.
  • The States in which the cities are located are expected to produce plans that include increasing the number of monitoring stations, providing technology support, conducting source apportionment studies, and strengthening enforcement.
  • The targets and commitments are non binding.
  • Approach:
    • Collaborative, Multi-scale and Cross-Sectoral Coordination between relevant Central Ministries, State Government and local bodies.
    • Focus on no Regret Measures, Participatory and Disciplined approach.