The approaching winter marks the annual return of staggeringly high levels of air pollution in north India and intensifies the unending search for a permanent solution to the problem. Nasa satellite images have begun spotting farm fires in Punjab, and growing plumes of smoke over adjoining cities.
As the post-Covid-19 economic recovery gathers momentum and sectors such as transport, construction and energy witness a rapid increase in activity, pollution levels in the region are likely to see a significant spike.
According to IQAir’s 2019 world air quality report, India is now host to 21 of the 30 most polluted cities of the world.
It is, therefore, urgent for the government to devise a robust multi-pronged strategy that can aggressively target emission reduction from key polluting sectors such as agriculture, industry, thermal power plants and transportation, while significantly reducing India’s dependence on fossil fuels.
Such a strategy must harness the role of key stakeholders in addressing air pollution. The private sector, through its technical expertise, sector-specific knowledge and ability to design unique, cutting-edge innovations