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Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981

The air pollution act, it seems, has come to the notice of the legislature a little later than water pollution. The delay of about seven years could be attributed to this. It is interesting to note that the control of water pollution was India’s initiative, while the measures on air pollution came only as a response to the 1972 Stockholm Conference. The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment at Stockholm in 1972 asked all participating states to take appropriate steps for the preservation of national resources of the Earth, including the preservation of the quality of air and control of air pollution.

The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act was enacted by the parliament in 1981 to prevent, control & abatement air pollution. Under Section 19 of this act, the whole of the National Capital Territory of Delhi has been declared an air pollution control area by the Central Government. Under this section, the government approved fuels to be used in the air pollution control area. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act was enacted in 1981 and amended in 1987 to provide for the prevention, control, and abatement of air pollution in India.

Salient Features of Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981

  1. It provides for prevention control and abatement of air pollution.
  2. Air pollution has been defined as the presence of any solid, liquid, or gaseous substance (including noise) in the atmosphere in such concentration as may be or tend to be harmful to human beings or any other living creature or plants or property or environment.
  3. Noise pollution has inserted as pollution in the Act in 1987.
  4. Air Act has provisions for defining the constitution, power, and function of pollution control boards, funds, accounts, audits, penalties, and procedures.
  5. Section 20 of the Act has provisions for insuring emission standards for automobiles. Based upon it the State Government is empowered to issue an instruction to the authorities in charge of registration of motor vehicles (under Motor Vehicle Act, 1939) that is bound to comply with such instructions.
  6.  The state government may declare an area within the State as a ” pollution control area” and can prohibit the use of any fuel other than approved fuel in the area causing air pollution. No person shall without the prior consent of the State Board operate or establish any industrial unit in the “air pollution control area”.

Objectives of Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981

  1. Prevention, control, and abatement of air pollution;
  2. Maintaining the quality of air and;
  3. Establishment of boards for the prevention and control of air pollution.

Importance Terms used in Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981

  1. Air Pollution: According to the Act it means ‘the presence in the atmosphere of any air pollution.
  2. Air Pollutant: It means ‘any solid, liquid or gaseous substances (including noise) present in the atmosphere in such concentrations as may be or tend to be injurious to human beings or other living creatures or property or environment.
  3. Control Equipment: According to the Act it means ‘any apparatus, device, equipment or system to control the quality and manner of emission of any air pollutant and includes any device used for securing the efficient operation of any industrial plants’.