Innovations to curb air pollution
Context-It is important to have systemic changes at the policy and strategy levels to curb air pollution in India.
Why air quality monitoring is essential?
Monitoring helps in assessing the level of pollution in relation to ambient air quality standards. Robust monitoring helps to guard against extreme events by alerting people and initiate action.
- There are more than 250 continuous ambient air quality monitoring stations and more than 800 ambient air quality monitoring stations operating across the country.
What are the Government initiatives to combat air pollution?
- Union Budget 2020-21 allocated Rs.4400 crore for cities having populations above one million to formulating and implementing plans for ensuring cleaner air.
- Delhi-NCR air quality commission– A new ordinance to form a commission for air-quality management in the National Capital Region (NCR) and adjoining areas.
- This erases all other authorities that were set up under judicial and administrative orders, seeks to limit the role of the judiciary and creates a supra-centralized framework for air-quality management in the region.
- The government has taken various other initiatives to address the issues related to air pollution such as the National Clean Air Program, the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana and the Bharat Stage-VI (BS-VI) emission norms.
However, these measures will have a major impact in the long term. India needs innovations to deliver on the promise of cleaner air in the immediate future.
What are the new innovations to curb air pollution?
- PUSA bio-decomposer– an effective way to prevent stubble burning.
- Pusa bio-decomposer is a solution developed by the scientists at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa, which can turn crop residue into manure in 15 to 20 days and therefore, can prevent stubble burning.
- Filter-less retrofit device- for cutting particulate matter at source in industries and vehicles.
- A nature-based solution to amplify air purification through breathing roots technology for improving indoor air quality.
- Geospatial technology and AI- To upgrade capacities to identify, monitor, regulate and mitigate air pollution hotspots.
The Geo-AI platform for brick kilns – is supporting environment regulators to identify non-compliant brick kilns from space.
- The platform has already mapped over 37,000 brick manufacturing units across the Indo-Gangetic plains.
What else need to be done to curb air pollution?
- Create an innovation framework– Government should provide an enabling ecosystem for innovations to address context-specific air pollution challenges and resources need to be allocated to support testing, certifying and scaling of innovative solutions.
- Mobilize private sector participation – Businesses and enterprises need to innovate their operations and functioning to reduce carbon footprint.
What is the way forward?
- The new budgetary step, which is also a tacit political acknowledgement of the public health emergency, has to gather momentum to step up fiscal solutions for killer air.
- India needs context-specific innovations not only in the technological but also in the economic, social, legal, educational, political and institutional domains to mitigate the challenges of air pollution.
- The private sector has strong potential to develop commercially viable products to combat air pollution and boost the innovation ecosystem.