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The weakest link in the air pollution fight

  • Published
    2nd Nov, 2022

Context:

State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) and Pollution Control Committees (PCCs) are failing to live up to their statutory mandate.

Enhanced Mandate:

  • Establishment of SPCBs: It was constituted under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. Later its mandate was expanded to include air quality management.
  • Under Performance: It is observed as the environmental indicators have worsened across the country, the SPCBs appear to have failed to discharge their statutory mandate.

Board composition as a conflict of interest:

  • Element of Expertise Missing: Scientists, medical practitioners, and academics constitute only 7% of the Board members, which indicates a lack of crucial expertise on the board.
  • SPCB leadership: Members do not enjoy a long, stable, and full-time tenure. Many times, they do not even have time to understand their mandate fully.
  • Conflict of Interest: Over 50% of the Board members across the 10 SPCBs and PCC studied represent potential polluters. This raises fundamental questions about conflicts of interest.
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