In a first, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) has recommended Delhi and NCR states to address household air pollution which is a major health risk in lower-income strata. The panel has stressed on the need to integrate the mitigation of household air pollution with outdoor air quality management across urban and rural landscapes.
It has suggested providing induction stoves to the migrant and floating population in low-income categories in Delhi-NCR which do not have access to clean fuels. The recommendations are part of a new policy formulated by the panel to curb air pollution in Delhi-NCR.
The Global Burden of Disease study attributes close to a million deaths to household air pollution, which largely affects women and children. According to the 2015 Report of the Steering Committee on Air Pollution and Health Related Issues of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, household air pollution due to the use of solid fuels is responsible for 25-30 percent of the outdoor air pollution.
The panel noted that the use of solid fuels in households in semi-urban and rural areas continues despite a substantial expansion of LPG connection and piped natural gas network in the region. "Central government schemes include Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) and direct benefit transfer to LPG consumers (PAHAL) combined with state government initiatives has widened the coverage.
"In Delhi, for instance, LPG penetration has increased after the implementation of 'Kerosene Free City' scheme during the last decade," it said. Though the official data from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas as January 1, 2020, shows legal LPG coverage of households in Delhi and NCR states to be near 100 percent, there are issues related to supply, use of mixed fuels by households, and delayed refill that make households fall back on dirty fuels in the semi-urban and rural areas, the CAQM said.
"The bigger challenge is that of the migrant and floating population in the low-income categories who do not have access to clean fuels. The new affordable housing typologies, including rental and dormitories, need to be equipped with clean cooking systems preferably induction stoves for the migrant or floating population," the panel suggested. Overall, expansion of PNG and electric cooking can help to improve access.Induction cooking has better thermal efficiency, and comparable cost-effectiveness. Such provisioning may be integrated with the affordable housing programme, especially the vertical related to rental housing, the commission said. According to the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, a Delhi-based not-for-profit policy research institution, household pollution accounted for 40 percent of Delhi's PM2.5 emissions in December 2020 and January 2021.