Passed by the Indian Government in 1981, Air ( Prevention and Control of Pollution ) Act was created to take appropriate measures for the conservation of clean and high quality air and to control the level of air pollution . The main objectives of this act includes providing for the prevention , control and reduction of air pollution, establishment of boards to carry out and achieve the goal of the act and give power to these bodies to implement the legislation and assign duties accordingly .

Pollution Control Boards (PCBs) have been set up by the government in every state to ensure that toxic substances and particulate matter like carbon monoxide and lead released by industries and vehicles stay within a prescribed level. They are also expected to measure pollution levels in the atmosphere by testing the air.

Central Pollution Board helps with the implementation of the laws stated in this act. Apart from this, it is also responsible to lay down standards for the quality of air and to provide the State Board with technical assistance and guidance whenever necessary. This board can also advise the Central Government on matters related to air pollution.

This act gives the State Pollution Control Board the authority to advise the State Government on matters concerning air pollution. Only after consulting with the State Board can the State Government declare air pollution control areas. Once they do so, the State Board is expected to inspect the area at intervals. There are certain types of industries like asbestos and petroleum industries which cannot operate without the consent of the State Board.  The State Board also has the right to inspect industrial plants and manufacturing units whenever they see fit and is also responsible to provide standards for emissions for different industrial plants, keeping factors like the composition of air pollutants into consideration.

If an industrial unit emits more air pollutants than the standards laid down for them then the people managing that unit would be penalized and the Board may also takes matters to the court. People responsible are punishable with imprisonment (extending upto three months ) or with a fine of Rs. 10,000 or both.


The main objectives of the Act are:

  1. To implement the decisions taken at U. N. Conference on the human environment held at Stockholm in June, 1972, insofar as they relate to the preservation of the quality of air and control of air pollution;
  2. To provide for the prevention control and abatement of air pollution;
  3. To establish Central and State Boards to implement the objective of the Act;
  4. To confer on and assign to such Boards, necessary powers to prevent air pollution;
  5. To lay down standards for maintaining good quality of air in the country.


Bare Act: Air Act 1981


Image Source: