Clean Air for All

Air pollution affects well-being, but its social implications extend far beyond health.

Air pollution is the leading environmental health risk globally with the World Health Organization (WHO) estimating that air pollution is responsible for a staggering 7 million premature deaths worldwide. In India, nearly 77% of India’s population is regularly exposed to air pollution levels above the National Ambient Air Quality Standards safe limits.

‘Dirty air’ is often not visible and particulate matter—often referred by size in micrometers, PM10, PM2.5 and PM1—can lead to cardiac distress and diseases such as asthma and cancer with smaller particles entering deeper into the lungs. Worsening air pollution not only impacts human health, it also reduces crop yields, alters rain fall patterns and affects climate change.

The sources and causes of air pollution vary by place, across seasons and over time posing a daunting challenge to human development. But this problem can be resolved by shifting the conversation from grievances to determining the cause of pollution and how best it ought to be tackle for the benefits of reducing air pollution far outweigh the costs of deployment.

SMCSMC Graphic for the Clean Air

Surat Clean Air Action Plan

The Surat Clean Air Action Plan (SCAP), developed by WRI India in collaboration with Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) and the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) and supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies and Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation (SSEF), offers technical interventions and suggests mitigation actions to strengthen institutional road maps.

  • Serves as a ‘roadmap' to achieve cleaner air in the SMC area and recommends cost-effective interventions to reduce emissions from identified air pollution sources
  • Offers a detailed assessment of air pollution source characteristics evaluated by an emissions inventory and a source apportionment study (done by TERI) coupled with inputs from stakeholders and local/regional policymakers.

View the Report


WRI India Ross Center’s approach combines sound scientific evidence with political strategy to move from awareness to effective action. We work with city policymakers, and the private sector, to help them build the technical capabilities needed to achieve cleaner air and to become effective advocates for clean air for all in five ways:

  1. Knowing the air: Working closely with the scientific community to advance monitoring and source attribution practices that offer actionable insights at low costs.

  2. Making the case: Building and communicating the evidence base around issues that matter to constituents.

  3. Integrated strategy: Creating feasible, integrated, politically viable plans for reducing multiple types of emissions.

  4. Integrated implementation: Coordinating and tracking effectiveness across sectors and geographies.

  5. Governance, policy, and diplomacy: Working with the government, stakeholders and community members to enable ‘airshed’ level actions – i.e. guidance to manage outdoor air quality over a specified area.