Air Pollution in India & NCAP - The Hindu - 16/01/23

Under the National Clean Air Campaign (NCAP), analysts found that progress has been slow, and pollution has only incrementally reduced in most cities
->National Clean Air Programme:
-It was launched by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in January 2019.
-It is the first-ever effort in the country to frame a national framework for air quality management with a time-bound reduction target.
-It seeks to cut the concentration of coarse (particulate matter (PM) of diameter 10 micrometer or less, or PM10) and fine particles (particulate matter of diameter 2.5 micrometer or less, or PM2.5) by at least 20% in the next five years, with 2017 as the base year for comparison.

->Target Levels:
-Current Scenario: The country’s current, annual average prescribed limits for PM2.5 and PM10 are 40 micrograms/per cubic metre (ug/m3) and 60 micrograms/per cubic metre.
-New Targets: The NCAP initially set a target of reducing key air pollutants PM10 and PM2.5 by 20-30% in 2024, taking the pollution levels in 2017 as the base year to improve upon. In September 2022, however, the Centre moved the goalposts and set a new target of a 40% reduction in particulate matter concentration, by 2026.
-Assess Improvements: Cities were required to quantify improvement starting from 2020-21, which requires 15% and more reduction in the annual average PM10 concentration and a concurrent increase in clean air quality days to at least 200.

->Effective has the NCAP Been: -Achieving Targets: An analysis of the four-year performance of the NCAP by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), concluded that only 38 of the 131 cities that signed agreements with the Centre, Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), and State Pollution Control Boards achieved their annual pollution reduction targets.
-Recommendations: The CREA noted that 37 cities have completed the source apportionment studies (which list and quantify the significant sources of pollution in a city). However, most of these reports weren’t available in the public domain and no city action plan had been updated with information from these studies.

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