Intensive multi-pronged strategies to fight pollution have come to a nought as is evident by worsening environmental conditions and climate change.  Currently, 60 per cent of Indian cities have air that is over seven times more polluted than the permissible limits and is routinely ranked among the world’s worst when it comes to air pollution. According to the 2023 World Air Quality Report by IQAir, 39 out of 50 of the world’s most polluted cities are present in India, with high 2.5 particulate matter (PM) levels. Worse still, According to the Air Quality Life Index Indians, on average, lose 5.3 years of their life, because of air pollution.

Given these conditions, a broad initiative that can address air pollution in large geographical areas is the urgent need of the hour. Airshed management is one such concept that has the potential to resolve the pollution crisis on a large scale by addressing the issue on a regional rather than local basis. Airshed is defined as a common geographic area where pollutants get trapped, creating similar air quality for all. A report by the University of Surrey in association with the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), CSIR-NEERI underlined the importance of Airshed management in tackling pollution.

Air pollution by nature is never local but transcends borders and regions. The annual problem of air pollution faced by Delhi NCR on account of crop burning by neighbouring states of Punjab & Haryana is an apt example. The University of Surrey report pointed out that specially appointed Airshed councils can help local, regional and central agencies coordinate efforts in fighting air pollution.