Air Quality Management for National Capital Region- India

Air quality in Indian cities is deteriorating due to indiscriminate use of fossil fuels and vehicular and industrial emissions, suspended particulate matter, dust, SPM, SO2, NO2, CO2 and heavy metals, etc. The recent efforts like electric and hydrogen fuels need to be supplemented by urban form that reduces need to travel and is low energy.

Stage of the project




Starting Up





Why was this project started?

The Supreme Court of India order dated 16th December 2021 directed the Commission for Air Quality Management in the NCR and Adjacent Areas (CAQM) to obtain the suggestions for a permanent solutions for air pollution in Delhi-NCR. Accordingly, the suggestions and an action matrix have been worked out and submitted to CAQM.

The results of the project so far

The key sectors contributing to air pollution i.e. manufacturing and industry, energy urban mobility, buildings and construction, and farming have been identified and environmental data has been quantified. Accordingly, an action plan have been worked out to address under the critical areas viz. Technology, Citizen Engagement and Policy for each sector.

What are specific, distinctive, strong elements in this project?

Based on the identification of major components and sources of air pollution and analysis of ambient air quality, various scenarios of emission control from point sources
and area sources can be worked out for next five years. This involves multifarious actions to reduce emissions from transport, power and industries, incineration of wastes, dust, etc. These measures can be geographically interlinked by a comprehensive approach towards a non-polluting and healthy city. Such a city is planned on the principles of compact and dense development, intelligent traffic management, transport demand management, efficient, comfortable and non-polluting public transport, bicycles and non-motorised transport and walk to work (IPCC, 2014). It provides clean water, wastewater recycling, CEPTs and zero polluting industries. Coal based thermal power plants are converted into CNG based and renewal energy along with smart grids and energy efficiency.
Preparation of pollution control plans at district, municipal, and local levels is linked with the principles of circular economy, recycling, underground and black hole technology of waste management and smart utilities. Intelligent and smart systems viz, Big Data Analytics, Supervising Control Data Acquisition Systems (SCADA), ERP solutions, GIS, Integrated Digital Control/Command Centres and Satellite Surveillance are exploited for air pollution control. The technological solutions have to be based on public engagement and collaborative partnerships.
Industries and power have a crucial role in shaping India’s path to combating air pollution. These need to shrink their environmental footprint by following measures:
• Promoting solar energy, trigeneration, green urban services and transport.
• Strengthening of enforcement and emissions monitoring.
• Scaling up of Emissions Trading Schemes.
• The development and installation of emissions free technologies, especially in the
power, cement, building materials and brick-making industries.

Which specific lessons, do's and don'ts would you like to share? What would be suggestions for others when preparing or implementing the project in their own city?

Work and rework short term, permanent and pragmatic solutions based on a model of problems. (Apply TRIZ theory of inventing problem solving)
Conflicting problems are separated in time and space along with the factors of resources and politics
Less is more
Nothing works without citizens participation
don't perpetuate 20 year Master Planning in this digital age
The cities are terminally ill which need to be put in the ICU
Don't use complex, scientific jargons and assumptions.
Don't make proposals beyond available resources
Avoid illusions of consensus, integrity, comprehensiveness, perfection (good enough is fine), exaggeration/sensation, etc.

Have others adopted, or shown interest in adopting, your idea in their own area?

Yes, few architects, planners, political leaders, media and business houses.

Can you tell us how valuable this project was for you?

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2. Will you use this information in your own practice?
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3. Could this project be shared to - and implemented in - your own city?
No I won't
Yes I think so


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