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4 CITIES HIT 95% OF 2024 CLEAN AIR TARGETS: STUDY

Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology, Prelims

Why in news?

Unprecedented lockdown measures resulted in four cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru — achieving 95% of their 2024 National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) targets in a short span of 74 days

Highlights of the Study

  • Researchers found that all four cities managed to better their 2024 NCAP target by around 30%, with Kolkata bettering their target by over 50% during this lockdown.
  • PM levels, average levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3), and benzene were studied to provide the results.
  • This lockdown presents an opportunity to understand background pollution levels in India, which will be present even in the best-case scenario.
  • The PM2.5 levels range between 20-49 micrograms per cubic metre across these four cities during the lockdown, which means that in the bestcase scenario we cannot go below that.
  • To compare the current level of 20-49 micrograms achieved in the 2 cities, the WHO guideline for PM2.5 annual mean level is 10 micrograms per cubic meter.

National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)

  • The Central Government has launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) to reduce particulate matter (PM) pollution.
  • NCAP is the first ever effort in the country to frame a national framework for air quality management with a time-bound reduction target.
  • India has an overall target to reduce hazardous PM levels by 20-30% by 2024 from their 2017 levels in 122 cities under the NCAP which was launched in 2019.
  • Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) will execute this nation-wide programme in consonance with the section 162 (b) of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1986.
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), as a nodal central and apex agency, will have to flex its authority to ensure all NCAP indicators are integrated with multi-sector and inter-ministerial programmes to align with the air quality target and objectives.
  • The plan includes 102 non-attainment cities, across 23 states and Union territories, which were identified by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on the basis of their ambient air quality data between 2011 and 2015.
  • Non-attainment cities are those which have been consistently showing poorer air quality than the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. These include Delhi, Varanasi, Bhopal, Kolkata, Noida, Muzaffarpur, and Mumbai.
  • As part of the programme, the Centre also plans to scale up the air quality monitoring network across India.

Objectives of NCAP

  • To augment and evolve effective and proficient ambient air quality monitoring network across the country for ensuring comprehensive and reliable database
  • To have efficient data dissemination and public outreach mechanism for timely measures for prevention and mitigation of air pollution and for inclusive public participation in both planning and implementation of the programmes and policies of government on air pollution
  • To have feasible management plan for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution.

Approach of NCAP

  • Collaborative, Multi-scale and Cross-Sectoral Coordination between relevant Central Ministries, State Government and local bodies.
  • Focus on no Regret Measures, Participatory and Disciplined approach

-Source: Hindustan Times

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