Survey reveals 50% citizens unaware that Pune does not meet the national standards for air quality

City based NGOs Parisar and CEE undertook a survey among citizens in Pune to gauge awareness and perceptions about air pollution. The discourse on air pollution is not new for Pune. Pune was listed amongst the most polluted cities in India in 2002 in one of the studies by EPCA (Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control Authority), set up by the Supreme Court to address the air pollution issues in the country. Several measures had been adopted by the city with directives from EPCA like shifting the auto rickshaws in the city from fossil fuel to CNG, implementing an upgraded PUC system, compulsory pre-mixing of 2T oil, among others but there was no long-term plan drawn out to address the air pollution more holistically.


In the current scenario, when the capital city’s air quality plummeted to life threatening extent, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) was forced to take action and launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) which promises to change the on-ground situation on the issue of air quality, and adopt policies and strategies for its improvement. The NCAP has mandated that the 102 non-attainment cities, which includes Pune, must have a clean air action plan by 2019 prepared by the CPCB and the MoEF&CC. A city is considered to be a non-attainment one when its air quality does not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) set by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
The survey by Parisar and CEE, conducted in May 2019, covered 500 individuals totally, online as well as in-person.

air pollution

Key Findings

Important Facts about Air Pollution we should know, but may not!
- Pune is a non-attainment city - About 50% of the respondents were unaware that Pune is a non-attainment city

- Young children are most vulnerable - About 60% of the respondents were unaware that young children are the most vulnerable to poor air quality

- Not only the lungs and eyes, but also the brain, liver, kidney, bone marrow are also affected by air pollution - About 70% of the respondents were unaware that body organs like the brain, liver and kidney are also vulnerable to air pollution, after inhalation through the lungs

Tackling Air Pollution
The top suggestions to improve air quality include public transport improvement, improved enforcement of PUC checks, greening, reducing private vehicles, and addressing garbage burning. Public participation and multi-stakeholder approaches are recommended by the survey respondents.

On questions related to the Air Quality Index (AQI) of Pune, almost 44% assessed it as ‘Moderate’ and about 50% said that they referred to the digital displays to check the air quality. While Pune is a non-attainment city, 50% thought that Pune’s air quality meets the NAAQS.

The survey also explored people's perceptions on the impact of pollution on health, the more vulnerable sections of society and invited suggestions on how this issue can be handled at the city level. To know more about the survey results, read the detailed report.

A press note has been issued about the survey results.

 

Press Coverage

IE air pollution

 

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Maharashtra Times, Pune

 

Most Puneites unaware of rampant air pollution - TOI, Pune Edition 5th June 2019