What’s in News?
- According to Environment Ministry data, the number of cities with “improved air quality” had increased to 104 in 2020 from 86 in 2018 due to policies of the government such as the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).
News in Detail
- The record mentions that reduction in air pollution in 2020 was primarily due to the lockdown.
- The COVID-19 related lockdown had resulted in a “temporary improvement” of air quality in many cities due to closure of industries, fewer vehicles plying, drop in construction activities and absence of human activities.
- On trends in air pollution, data from the Central Pollution Control Board showed 23 cities marking a “decreasing trend”, 239 cities a “fluctuating trend” & 38 cities an “increasing trend” in PM 10 levels.
- In the case of PM2.5 levels, 11 cities showed a decreasing trend, 79 cities a fluctuating trend and 9 cities an increasing trend when pollution levels from 2015-2019 were averaged.
- NCAP is a pollution control initiative that was launched by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in 2019. This is the first ever effort in the country to frame a national framework for air quality management with a time-bound reduction target.
- It aims to reduce particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) pollution by 20-30% in 122 cities by 2024, with 2017 as the base year for comparison.
- The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) executes this programme.
- Under NCAP, 122 non-attainment cities have been identified across the country based on the Air Quality data from 2014-2018.
- Apart from experts from the industry and academia, the programme is a collaboration between the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Ministry of Heavy Industry, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health, NITI Aayog, and Central Pollution Control Board.
- City specific action plans have been prepared which include measures for strengthening the monitoring network, reducing vehicular/industrial emissions, increasing public awareness etc.
- Implementation of the city specific action plans are regularly monitored by Committees at Central and State level namely Steering Committee, Monitoring Committee and Implementation Committee.
- Air quality of cities is monitored by State Pollution Control Boards which publishes their results from time to time.