National: India’s first consolidated database of air emission inventory report was launched today by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in collaboration with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a leading nonprofit group that creates science-based solutions to the most serious environmental problems across the world. The ‘Catalogue of Indian Emission Inventory Reports’ will give policy-makers and scientists an open-source one-stop snapshot for referring to published emission inventory reports.
The combined initiative by two of the world’s pre-eminent science-based research bodies will strengthen the ongoing efforts of India’s Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), which sets standards amid extreme variance across state and city authorities in India.
The combination of about 200 sectorally-categorised Emission Inventory reports into a single online location will be an invaluable resource for the cities and pollution boards that have been mandated by India’s National Clean Air Action Program (NCAP) to identify and analyse ambient air pollution sources, known as source apportionment studies. Source apportionment studies are central in informing cities of the focus of their air pollution mitigation strategies and an accurate Emission Inventory is a pre-requisite for such studies.
According to the NCAP, 132 non-attainment cities have been set a pollution reduction target of 20-30 per cent by 2024; the Emission Inventory report will be particularly beneficial to such cities as they devise action plans, implement control measures and narrow disparities between clean and dirty air cities. The importance of the Emission Inventory in the context of the NCAP targets is underlined by the fact that failure to conduct source apportionment studies might lead to a potential loss for funding in implementing clean air plans.
“Emission Inventory is a basic building block for the firming up of public policies and practical action plans to address air pollution, and accurate Emission Inventory data is critical to make informed policy choices. We hope, through this report, existing inventories can be revised and expanded into previously studied sources and geographies,’’ said Dr Vibha Dhawan, Director-General, TERI.
In a significant insight, the report also shines a light on previously unacknowledged vast local Emission Inventory data in key categories that had existed alongside a bank of historic emissions factors developed by foreign agencies.
‘’While cataloguing, our researchers found that use of foreign emission factors shaping analyses. We need to encourage the use of indigenous emission factors wherever possible. In places where domestic emission factors are lacking, efforts need to be made to develop them. For example, sectors like road dust, which are still dependent on foreign emission factors, India can lead the way in developing region-specific emission factors’’, explained Hisham Mundol, Chief Advisor, EDF India.
The analysis also points out the disproportionate share of aggregate emissions accounted for by small emitters such as households, restaurants and small businesses, categories that are typically not represented in historic Emission Inventory data. This belies the popular perception of stubble burning being a primary pollutant and suggests that beyond the need for a better geographic spread of data, city pollution boards should consider collecting data for a wider range of sectors to help inform their clean air action plans.
“The ongoing air pollution emergency underlines how the monitoring of environmental impacts using country and city-specific factors can greatly complement mitigation strategies. This report’s compilation of local emission factors for major air pollutants will alleviate the inconsistencies incurred in the default use of international emission factors and our dependence on secondary data. That makes this report an invaluable tool for scientists, researchers and policymakers”, said R. Suresh, Area Convenor, Air Quality, TERI.