EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Current gaps in air quality management over India: A study on stakeholder consultation

Arindam Roy1, Athanasios Nenes1,2, and Satoshi Takahama1
Arindam Roy et al.
  • 1Laboratory of Atmospheric Processes and their Impacts (LAPI), ENAC, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 2Institute of Chemical Engineering Sciences, Foundation for Research & Technology-Hellas, Patras 26504, Greece

As a part of the National Clean Air Program (NCAP) in India, non-attainment cities have begun implementing city-wide action plans for air quality monitoring and management. Air quality action plan implementation is supported by a collaboration of academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, and governmental bodies,  but each of these stakeholder groups perceives different challenges in this effort. Here, we report on the results of a stakeholder consultation study conducted through semi-structured anonymous interviews to identify varying perspectives on the key challenges. Three types of stakeholders were selected for the interview; a) academic researchers (10 participants); b) experts from non-governmental agencies (10 participants), and, c) group leads from government implementation bodies (8 participants). The governmental stakeholders are from state agencies and municipalities that are actually responsible for the ground implementation of air quality control. The questionnaire was broadly divided into three categories; a) the role and sufficiency of current air quality monitoring operations and NCAP; b) how information is shared or used by different agencies, and, c) how the research data is being used in implementation (“data to action”).


The majority of stakeholders (~95%) identify NCAP and its resource support as the driving force for the recent implementation on air quality. They also raise concerns regarding the post-funding sustainability of implementation strategies beyond the five-year lifetime of NCAP. According to implementation agency leads, there are three types of data required for action: 1) the proportion of transported and local pollutants; 2) what implementation will improve the air quality at the neighborhood scale for a particular city; and 3) how to evaluate the effectiveness of an ongoing implementation project. Receptor modeling studies currently conducted to identify major source classes in the study area often do not answer these questions; most participants (irrespective of stakeholder types) state that receptor modeling is costly and often unaffordable. We found that only a fraction of non-attainment cities is interested to use allocated funds for air quality management toward receptor modeling. Instead, building emission inventories followed by numerical modeling are perceived to be a good starting point for actionable information such as identifying prioritized sectors for air pollution management, particularly for Indian cities that lack resources. Regarding monitoring and evaluation strategies, academics and governmental implementation agencies raise concerns about the deployment of low cost sensors (LCS) and satellite data for regulatory purposes, while NGOs are advocating for mainstreaming the LCS measurement. Governmental implementation agencies are neutral about the number of stations or methods of monitoring as they believe measurement is not directly helping in implementation and evaluation.


Our study suggests that there is a gap between knowledge generated by academic air pollution research and knowledge required for decision-making by implementation agencies in Indian municipalities. Therefore, we identify a necessity for establishing a fourth type of entity, independent of the three preexisting ones, that transfers actionable information from research institutes to governmental agencies and devise locale-specific strategies for air pollution management. Cooperating among government departments, such entities can further provide unified action plans on air quality, climate change adaptation, and development.

How to cite: Roy, A., Nenes, A., and Takahama, S.: Current gaps in air quality management over India: A study on stakeholder consultation, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-12530,, 2023.