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National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)

Topic covered:

  1. Conservation and pollution related issues.

 

National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: NCAP- features and targets.
  • For Mains: Significance, challenges in its implementation and measures needed to improve its outcomes.

 

Context: There are 139 Indian cities that breach air pollution standards but are not included in the Centre’s National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), says a report by Greenpeace. Airpocalypse III, as the Greenpeace report is titled, analyses air pollution data of 313 cities and towns for the year 2017.

 

Highlights of the Report:

  1. Of these 313 cities, 241 (77%) had PM10 levels beyond the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). These specify upper limits to a range of airborne chemicals and compounds.
  2. While 102 of these cities were included in the NCAP, the remaining 139 cities were left out. That’s because the government’s list of 102 cities relied on average pollution data until 2015, whereas Airpocalypse III used data updated up to 2017.
  3. Even if the NCAP were able to reduce pollution by 30% by 2024, 153 cities would still be left with pollution levels exceeding the NAAQS.
  4. Of the 139 cities that have not been included in the non-attainment list under the NCAP, there are several cities that have a population of more than 1 million, and PM levels (recorded in 2017) above NAAQS.
  5. These include: Ranchi, Dhanbad (Jharkhand); Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh); Chennai, Madurai (Tamil Nadu); Meerut (Uttar Pradesh); Pimpri-Chindwar, Thane, (Maharashtra); Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara (Gujarat); and Howrah (West Bengal).

 

National Clean Air Programme (NCAP):

The government, earlier this month, announced the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). This is the first ever effort in the country to frame a national framework for air quality management with a time-bound reduction target.

The programme will not be notified under the Environment Protection Act or any other Act to create a firm mandate with a strong legal back up for cities and regions to implement NCAP in a time bound manner for effective reduction.

 

Key features of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP):

Achieve a national-level target of 20-30% reduction of PM2.5 and PM10 concentration by between 2017 and 2024.

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 programme has been launched with an initial budget of ₹300 crore for the first two years.

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. At least 4,000 monitors are needed across the country, instead of the existing 101 real-time air quality (AQ) monitors, according to an analysis.

The plan proposes a three-tier system, including real-time physical data collection, data archiving, and an action trigger system in all 102 cities, besides extensive plantation plans, research on clean-technologies, landscaping of major arterial roads, and stringent industrial standards.

It also proposes state-level plans of e-mobility in the two-wheeler sector, rapid augmentation of charging infrastructure, stringent implementation of BS-VI norms, boosting public transportation system, and adoption of third-party audits for polluting industries.

Various committees: The national plan has proposed setting up an apex committee under environment minister, a steering committee under-secretary (environment) and a monitoring committee under a joint secretary. There would be project monitoring committees at the state-level with scientists and trained personnel.

 

Sources: the hindu.