Prior to the Air Pollution Control Act of 1955, little headway was made to initiate this air pollution reform. U.S. cities Chicago and Cincinnati first established smoke ordinances in 1881. In 1904, Philadelphia passed an ordinance limiting the amount of smoke in flues, chimneys, and open spaces. The ordinance imposed a penalty if not all smoke inspections were passed. It wasn't until 1947 that California authorized the creation of Air Pollution Control Districts in every county of the state.
The Himachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board was constituted in the year 1974 under the provision of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. Subsequently the implementation of the provision contained in Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977, Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and Environmental Protection Act, 1986 in addition to Rules framed under these Acts were also entrusted to the State Board. The prime objective of all these Acts is maintaining, restoring and preserving the wholesomeness of quality of environment and prevention of hazards to human beings and terrestrial flora and fauna.
Himachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board is a nodal agency in the administrative structure of the State Government for planning, coordination, prevention & control of pollution and so also protection of environment in the framework of environmental regulations. The State Board has always endeavoured to strike a rational balance between economic growth and environmental preservation. In the pursuit of attaining the objectives enshrined in the environmental legislations the State Board has followed the principles of sustainable development. Continuous efforts are being made by the board to expand its activities to fulfill the demands of emerging environmental concerns, challenges and new statutes.
The following legislative measures are significant and worth mentioning here vis-à-vis the functions and duties of the State Board.
Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981: On the analogy of the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 the Union Government promulgated another identical legislation which was exclusively meant to deal with the problems of air quality and preservation and maintenance thereof.
Status of Ambient Air, River Water Quality and Vehicular Pollution in Himachal Pradesh
Ambient Air Qqulity Monitoring : The monitoring of Ambient Air Quality was started in 1986-87 under the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP) with the objective to find the current status of pollution and to study the trends as a result of increasing industrialization. The general objectives of the programme are:
1. To evaluate the general air quality conditions in the cities and to provide the basis for analyzing long term trends of pollution concentrations.
2. To provide the data for subsequent development of air quality standards and pollution prevention and control programme for the cities.
Dust Sampler on the basis of three days per station per week for 24 hours at 10 Towns/Cities covering 20 nos. of locations in the State. The State Board has also initiated air quality monitoring stations at Dharamshala.
Source: Pollution Control Board