Airpocalypse III Report

• Over 130 highly polluted cities violating the national air quality standards have been left out of the recently launched National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), a new study has revealed.

• A Greenpeace India report, which identified 139 cities where air pollution level exceeds national standards, said the NCAP is based on limited data from 2011-2015 and that’s why a large number of highly polluted cities have been kept out of its purview.

• The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) launched the five-year action plan earlier this month to reduce air pollution by 30 per cent by 2024, with 2017 as base year.

Key highlights of the report

• The report title ‘Airpocalypse III’ analysed air pollution data of 313 cities and towns for the year 2017.

• It said that of the 313 cities, 241 are on the list of non-attainment cities (highly polluted cities), but the NCAP has included only 102.

• All these 241 cities are on the list of ‘non-attainment’ cities that are required to take action under the NCAP.

• This is a sharp increase of 139 cities (and) the list of non-attainment cities in the NCAP was drawn up using data from 2011-2015.

• The environment body said it would ask the ministry to update the list with 2017 data.

Target set by the government

• Realizing the 30 per cent pollution reduction target by 2024 must be only the first step in making India’s air breathable.

• That will still leave about 50 per cent cities in violation of the national air quality standards.

• Millions of Indians will continue breathing hazardous air even in years to come, making it imperative that the MoEFCC set more specific and ambitious city-wise and sector-wise pollution reduction targets.

• The inclusion of sectoral pollution reduction targets along with strong accountability and compliance mechanisms is the only way in which we can achieve clean air and blue skies.

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Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Prelims level: Airpocalypse III Report

Mains level: Potential threats of Nitrogen Pollution from various sources

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