Speaking to reporters here, Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said, "We have notified the ambient air quality standards in India which is equivalent to the European level and exceeds the standard prevalent in the US."
"The most important part of the revised standards is that distinctions between industrial and residential areas have been removed. Now industries have to conform to the same standards as residential areas and will be compelled to take necessary measures to check air pollution," said Ramesh.
The revised ambient air quality standards provide a legal framework for the control of air pollution and the protection of public health and any citizen can approach the court demanding better air quality.
The minister further said, "The number of vehicles on the road, population and industries have increased manifold in the past 15 years but we were still following the old ambient air standards."
"The enforcement of these standards is the most important thing. We are in the process of setting up the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and National Environment Protection Authority (NEPA) to ensure the effective enforcement of the standards," Ramesh added.