Legal framework for clean air in cities: gaps and potential

India has set ambient air quality standards for several pollutants. According to the rules of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the annex monitoring agency, the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) should be met for at least 98 per cent of the days in a year. They may exceed the limit only for 2 per cent of the time, but not on two consecutive days of monitoring. But air-quality monitoring carried out in at least 263 cities shows that the majority do not meet standards. Further, pollution levels continue to rise in many cities, even smaller ones. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) data, 13 out of 20 of the most polluted cities are in India.