In a significant development, the Centre has formulated a comprehensive plan to mitigate air pollution in 100 cities, reports the Times of India.
Under its National Clean Air Programme, the Central government in conjunction with their counterparts in the states have come up with specific targets and timelines to address this public health emergency. Cities under the NCAP include Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Varanasi, and Chandigarh, among others. Each city will have its own action plan.
According to TOI, the Centre is looking to reduce air pollution by 35% in the next three years, and 50% in the next five years, across the 100 cities identified under the NCAP. While formulating the NCAP, the government identified important sources of pollution across various sectors but singled out transport, industry, residential, agriculture and power sectors as major contributors.
The approach to tackling air pollution under the NCAP will require close coordination among multiple institutions across these 100 cities. There is also talk of increasing public participation, establishing more monitoring stations, collect data and send the numbers gathered up for analysis at a potential Air Information Centre.
Reports indicate that the Centre has already notified the NCAP for Delhi. “The government has formulated a separate NCAP as a long-term time-bound national-level strategy to tackle the increasing air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner,” said Union environment minister Harsh Vardhan.
“The overall objective of the NCAP is a comprehensive management plan for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution besides augmenting and evolving effective ambient air quality monitoring network across the country,” he added. He hasn’t yet disclosed any major details of this plan.
Under the NCAP, the Centre has identified 100 “non-attainment cities,” or those with air quality worse than National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Other cities on this list include Guwahati, Vishakhapatnam, Bhilai, Surat, Bhopal, Indore, Amravati, and Nashik, among others.
While the formulation of the NCAP is a step in the right direction, there is little by way of details. “The draft needs more thinking and clarity regarding articulating interim milestones for completing source apportionment studies to reduce 35% and 50% pollution in three and five years respectively along with specific targets for polluting sectors such power and industry,” said Sunil Dahiya, senior campaigner, Greenpeace India, to the publication.