One Year Since NAQI Launch, But System Far From Robust

Greenpeace reinforces the call for a comprehensive NAQI with implementation and action plans

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Press release - April 6, 2016
New Delhi 5th April 2016| One year ago, when the Prime Minister of India launched the National Air Quality Index platform to monitor the air quality in major urban centers across the country on a real time basis, Greenpeace had welcomed the initiative with caution, and flagged a few limitations to the Index: its limited scope, lack of transparency, and above all, lack of vision to make Air Quality data widely available and useful to citizens. On the first anniversary of the launch, a Greenpeace analysis of the current status of the Index reveals that several systemic flaws still remain.

The accessibility of data on air pollution continues to be skewed. The National Air Quality Index was launched monitoring in 10 cities. It was planned to spread the monitoring in 46 cities, however as on 2nd April 2016, NAQI monitors only in 23 cities, failing in meeting its target of 46 cities. Overall, there are only 39 monitoring stations in 23 cities limiting the scope of the Index drastically.

"This number appears woefully inadequate in the context of the air pollution crisis India is facing. China, in response to a similar crisis, has as many as 1500 monitoring stations.

The National Air Quality Index can be a powerful tool if implemented in its true spirit. We have been keenly following the progress of the National Air Quality Index since its launch, but sadly it continues to be plagued by several discrepancies in the investment in infrastructure. The existing system is far from reliable in both, collection and dissemination of data, with no agreed steps for how the data will be utilized. Greenpeace has been demanding for a comprehensive NAQI system backed by good infrastructure and clear actions,” says Sunil Dahiya, Campaigner, Greenpeace India.

The real time publication of data needs to be coupled with an effective health advisory mechanism: one that can hold institutions accountable for, and responsive to bad quality air days. The Index data also needs to be used more proactively, with adequate information shared about precautionary measures that the public can take, while the authorities take action to address the root causes of air pollution.”

“India has made good initial strides towards finding solutions to tackle air pollution. From the odd-even initiative in Delhi to car free days, the government is taking multiple initiatives to tackle pollution. The most vital of all actions is to educate and recommend people way forward to protect themselves from the increasing pollution.

Greenpeace continues to demand a systematic clean air action plan with defined timelines and accountability towards public health. Public data sharing along with expanding the network to new places with right mix of policies can help India take a major stride towards resolving air pollution. Like we have said in the past, this crisis is an opportunity to test India’s emergency response plan, and we hope the Environment Minister will continue and lead us towards a focussed, coordinated Clean Air Nation Action Plan,” concluded Dahiya. 

Notes to Editor-

1.    Report on Status Assessment of NAQI on its first Anniversary-


For further details, contact-

Madhulika Verma, Communication Specialist, Greenpeace India; +919971137736; 

Avinash Chanchal, Communication Specialist, Greenpeace India; +918359826363; 

Sunil Dhaiya, Campaigner, Greenpeace India; +919013673250,