GUWAHATI, Aug 18 - Laying emphasis on both micro level and regional strategies, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) today asked Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland to make a joint action plan by August 30 next to control air pollution in �non-attainment� cities and towns.
Participating in a workshop organized to formulate an action plan for air quality management in the NE towns and cities, Head of the Air Quality Management Division of CPCB Dr P Gargava said the exercise for controlling air pollution should start with identification of the sources of pollution, followed by evaluation of control options, stakeholder sensitization and consultation, then an operational plan with clear roles and finally an institutional framework for implementation, monitoring and review.
He rued that no studies have been done to identity the sources of pollution, and all have been �too eager to jump to conclusion� without any adequate scientific understanding. Gargava also mentioned the lack of coordination between different stakeholders who have different priorities and said there is no mechanism to periodically monitor the results of the action taken.
�Every stakeholder department has to do their bit. All must have their roles defined,� he said.
Besides, zeroing in on the sources and local hotspots, the CPCB official said the state boards should also identify the periods during which pollution levels are higher.
Chairman of the State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority Prof KG Bhattacharjee underscored the need for graded response action plans, involving various government departments and agencies to control the problem. He identified hill cutting and road construction works as major factors contributing to the air pollution in the State.
The joint action plan to be formulated by the three states will be submitted to the CPCB for approval. The Central board will make interventions in the inter-state border areas.
The CPCB has called for the workshop in the wake of the rising air pollution in eight towns and cities of the region, including five in Assam.
Since 2011, at least 94 Indian cities have not met national air quality standards. Many of these cities have been on the list from the 1990s. Among them are Guwahati, Nagaon, Nalbari, Silchar and Sivasagar besides Byrnihat in Meghalaya and Kohima and Dimapur in Nagaland.
These places have consistently recorded higher than acceptable particulate matter (PM10) levels and the CPCB has listed them as polluted cities in which the prescribed National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) are violated.