Air pollution in India results in significant adverse health and environmental outcomes. Only 16% of the population lives in an area that meets India’s national air quality standards, and less than 1% lives in an area that meets international guidelines for air quality. In 2015, air pollution resulted in 1.1 million deaths nation-wide. If the World Health Organization’s air quality standard was met, Indian life expectancy would increase by 5.2 years. The state of West Bengal, wherein Kolkata is located, faces some of the highest exposures to air pollution in the country, making local interventions there critical.
In recent years, the central government has taken steps to improve air quality, creating, for example, the National Clean Air Programme in 2019. Kolkata was the first city in West Bengal to be named out of compliance with national air quality standards under the program, even after the Air Quality Monitoring Committee developed a clean air plan for Kolkata in 2018. Despite some developments, including actions to curb one of the Kolkata’s lead causes of air pollution by banning open burning of coal and firewood, the city still has steps to take to enhance air quality.
Environmental Law | Law
Legal Levers For Cleaner Air in Kolkata: An Assessment of Local Legal Authority,
Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School, November 2020
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/sabin_climate_change/45