The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has cleared seven projects, including a study on the impact of air pollution on health, which will be funded by its environment fund made up of the cess levied on the sale of high-end diesel cars, officials said.
The apex pollution regulator currently has Rs 70 crore in the corpus, called the Environment Protection Fund (EPC), which was created following a Supreme Court order in August 2016, CPCB member-secretary D Sudhakar said.
In July last year, the agency had floated an expression of interest (EoI) and proposals for projects and studies to be undertaken using the EPC. Since then, it has received 39 proposals, Sudhakar said.
"We have cleared seven proposals out of the 39. An amount of Rs 10.7 crore has also been sanctioned for this purpose," Sudhakar said, adding that a few more proposals are likely to be cleared in the board's next meeting on January 24.
The approved projects, once completed, will help strengthen the air quality monitoring network in Delhi-NCR, the scientist, who is also a member of the Supreme Court- mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, said.
"One of the projects is a short-term health impact study on air pollution. The rest mainly deal with making the pollution monitoring network more robust. By March, the corpus is likely to be Rs 80-crore strong," he said.
Two committees - one of which is headed by the environment secretary - vet and clear the proposals under the laid down procedures.
The EoI document had made it clear that the projects will have to focus on areas such as the health impact of air pollution and on possible steps to create awareness among the masses by installing LED panels displaying pollution levels.
The SC had earlier directed CPCB to use around Rs 2.5 crore from the EPC corpus in setting up pollution monitoring centres across the National Capital Region.
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