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RIGHT TO CLEAN AIR CAMPAIGN. Centre for Science and Environment. About CSE. Centre for Science and Environment, a public interest research organization dedicated to disseminate information about science and environment.

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Right to clean air campaign


Centre for Science and Environment

About cse
About CSE

  • Centre for Science and Environment, a public interest research organization dedicated to disseminate information about science and environment.

  • A book Slow murder: The deadly story of vehicular pollution in India was released in 1996.

  • A study conducted for this book found that the problem of vehicular pollution in India.

  • CSE launched its “Right To Clean Air Campaign” in November 1996.

  • CSE has been consistently advocating for improvements in air quality planning and raising public awareness about risks to public health.

Right to clean air campaign1
Right To Clean Air Campaign

  • The study conducted for the book Slow Murder: The deadly story of vehicular pollution in India investigated the problem of:

  • Outdated vehicle technology

  • Poor fuel quality

  • Lack of transportation planning

  • Poor maintenance of vehicles

  • The connection between the problem and these

    multiple factors eluded most Indian citizens.

  • To help people understand this CONNECTION and push for change Right To Clean Air Campaignwas launched in November1996 to:

  • improve air quality planning

  • build awareness through advocacy and networking

  • undertake policy research to guide the campaign

Time line
Time Line

  • 1985: Public interest litigation filed in Supreme Court (SC)

  • 1985-1996: SC orders introduction of unleaded fuel, conversion of government vehicles to CNG, catalytic converters on new cars, lower sulphur content of diesel

  • November 1, 1996: CSE released Slow Murder: The deadly story of vehicular pollution in India, marking the launch of the campaign.

  • November 18, 1996: The Supreme Court of India issued suo moto

    notice to the Delhi government to submit an action plan to control

    city’s air pollution following the media reports on the CSE study.

  • December 1996: The Delhi government presented it’s first ever action plan to the Court to combat air pollution in Delhi.

  • November 1, 1997: CSE released its latest findings on mortality and

    morbidity in Indian cities and held government inaction responsible

    for this.

  • November 4, 1997: The environment minister announced his plans to issue a white paper on pollution and an action plan by December 2, 1997.

  • 1997: SC reacts; asks government to file action plan to control air pollution; government issues white paper

  • January 7, 1998: The Supreme Court of India directed setting up of a statutory body to advise Court on pollution control and monitor implementation of Court orders.

  • July 28, 1998 - Supreme Court of India orders the CNG program for Delhi

    • No buses over 8 years old after 4/1/2000 except on CNG

    • All buses on CNG or other clean fuel by 3/31/2001

    • Financial incentives for CNG in taxis, three-wheelers etc.

    • Increase the number of buses to atleast 10,000

  • 1998: SC appoints Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority [EPCA]

  • 1999: Advances emission standards by five years, lower sulphur

  • in diesel and petrol to 500ppm

  • August 2001: Government sets up a committee to recommend auto fuel policy

  • January 2002: Committee recommends Euro II diesel for Delhi (which is already in place), and Euro III from 2003; government accepts the interim report

  • April 5, 2002: SC comes down heavily on the government and the committee’s report; stands firm on its earlier orders; imposes fines on government and diesel bus Operators.

  • 2006: Setting the agenda for second generation, Action – The Leapfrog Factor

Activities undertaken
Activities undertaken

  • CSE supplies

    • science-based facts to the media to keep issues


    • foster public debate,

    • support transparency, and

    • build credibility.

  • Scientific data is combined with dramatic images and messages about the health effects of air pollution.

  • Examples include public dialogues about emissions-based taxation, emissions warranty, and vehicle inspection programs.

  • The campaign has also provided technical support for the ongoing public interest litigation in the Supreme Court of India, helping achieve important decisions on air pollution control.

  • Various agencies involved in implementation

    Responsible for Implementation









    GAS LTD.




    Reports to SC, recommends

    future action

    Monitors progress







    Technical and

    research inputs






    Key actors map
    Key Actors Map



    Supreme court

    Automobile industry



    Delhi govt.






    • INDRAPRASTHA GAS LTD: Lack of land, electricity, boosters

      RESULT: Fail to set up required number of dispensing units, long queues

    • MINISTRY OF PETROLEUM: Enough gas not available

      RESULT: Rising demand, refusal to supply

    • MINISTRY OF ROAD TRANSPORT: CNG technology not viable

      RESULT: Take three years to set outdated emission and safety standards

    • DELHI GOVERNMENT: Lack of CNG buses; buses not safe

      RESULT: Fail to meet deadline, four times

    The supreme court order of april 5 2002
    The Supreme Court order of April 5, 2002

    The Supreme Court fines the Union government for wasting court’s

    time by repeatedly appealing for dilution of the CNG order

    Court impose fines on diesel bus operators

    • Rs 500/day (about US$11), to Rs 1000/day in 30 days

    • Operators must take delivery of new buses ordered

      Delhi Govt. directed to phase out 800 diesel buses/month

      Government talks of overruling the order by an ordinance: goes back

      under public pressure, but increases price of CNG

      National Govt. to report on measures for extending CNG to other

      polluted cities

    Impact on air quality

    Particulate pollution stabilized

    Issues to be sorted out
    Issues to be sorted out

    • Level of technology

    • Emission standards

    • Safety standards

    • Allocation of gas

    • Dispensing stations

    • Pricing policy

    The way ahead second generation reforms needed in delhi and other indian cities
    The Way AheadSecond generation reforms needed in Delhi and other Indian cities

    Leapfrog technology roadmap

    Leapfrog emissions and fuel standards. Get clean diesel . Improve two wheelers emissions.

    Reinvent Mobility

    Build public transport to leverage change

    Manage mobility

    Restrain cars

    Fuel economy standards

    The message: LeapfrogAvoid the polluting pathways of others. Adopt an alternative path that is precautionary and preventive

    “The Kuznets Curve”

    Business As Usual

    Alternative Path Of Progress


    Per-Capita GDP

    Do we have to go the same way as the West? Or can we Leapfrog

    Pre – Euro I

    Poor Diesel

    Improved Diesel

    Euro I

    Euro II

    Natural Gas/ LPG

    Euro III


    Euro IV and beyond

    Stake holder analysis
    Stake Holder Analysis Leapfrog

    • The Government.

    • Public, the worst sufferer.

    • Auto Industry.

    • Oil Refining Companies.

    • Pollution Cont. Authorities(CPCB).

    • Traffic control/Road dev. authorities.

    The government
    The Government Leapfrog

    • Mute spectator with all the powers.

    • Decision making process not transparent.

    • No intention to involve all stakeholders.

    • A deliberate attempt to keep people under informed about pollution level & its impact.

    • A tainted nexus.

    • High growth obsession,1 lakh car ???

    • A lackluster approach, ICMR.

    Status of janta the helpless
    Status of Janta ( Leapfrogthe Helpless).

    • Among the worst affected.

    • Almost ignorant about pollution level and its impact.

    • Health Vs. Mobility.

    • No major campaign.

    • Lack of a robust public transport system .

    • “Sab chalta hai” mindset.

    • Unsatisfactory maintenance status of vehicle.

    Auto industry we don t want to be left behind
    Auto Industry– we don’t want to be left behind. Leapfrog

    • The biggest culprit.

    • No stringent standards to follow.

    • A very strong lobby (Tata, Honda, BAL).

    • Making money while destroying environment.

    • 2 stroke engine, 70% HC emission.

    • Using mobility as a shield of excuse.

    • An ambient air quality is not the responsibility of vehicle manufacturers. --- Rahul Bajaj.

    Role of oil co s
    Role of Oil Co’s Leapfrog

    • Self monitoring mechanism for fuel quality.

    • No synchronization with other stake holders.

    • Unsuccessful tackling the adulteration issue.

    • No framework for consistent fuel quality up gradation.

    • Doomed to share the burden of subsidy.

    • No monitoring of after effects.

    Pollution cont authorities
    Pollution Cont. Authorities Leapfrog

    • Just for the namesake.

    • No real powers and motivation.

    • Rampant corruption and bureaucracy.

    • No support from any quarters.

    • No scope for tech., medical and environmentalists.

    Traffic control road development
    Traffic control/Road development Leapfrog

    • 25% CAGR, already crowded.

    • Narrow and Pot holes.

    • Insufficient resources.

    • Center vs. State.

    What we propose
    What we propose Leapfrog

    • Reduced role of govt. only as a facilitator.

    • Synergy in policy drafting and implement.

    • NVPCC, centre and state. Members from diverse fields.

    • Role of auto industry and oil companies.

    • Promotion of green fuels all across.

    • Increased public awareness & activism.

    • Stringent norms, implementation, responsibility, polluter pays

    • Scope for judicial activism.

    THANK YOU Leapfrog





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