CENTRE AIMS FOR 20% CUT IN AIR POLLUTION BY 2024

• The Centre has launched a programme to reduce particulate matter (PM) pollution by 20-30% in at least 102 cities by 2024.

• The National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), which was formally unveiled on Thursday, is envisaged as a scheme to provide the States and the Centre with a framework to combat air pollution.

• “This is our war against pollution across the length and breadth of the country.

Long-term process

• Pointing out that curbing PM pollution would be a long-term process, officials said the ₹300-crore programme will bring pollution concerns to the heart of a State’s development plans.

• The NCAP will be a mid-term, five-year action plan with 2019 as the first year.

• This is not a pan-India, but a city-specific programme.

Key measures taken

• The plans include increasing the number of monitoring stations, providing technology support, conducting source apportionment studies, and strengthening enforcement.

• For achieving the NCAP targets, the cities will have to calculate the reduction in pollution keeping 2017’s average annual PM levels as the base year.

Highlights of the WHOs report

• The World Health Organisation’s database on air pollution over the years has listed Tier I and Tier II Indian cities as some of the most polluted places in the world.

• In 2018, 14 of the world’s 15 most polluted cities were in India.
• A study in the journal Lancet ranked India as No.1 on premature mortality and deaths from air pollution.

• As part of the NCAP, cities have been given a specified number of days to implement specific measures such as “ensuring roads are pothole-free to improve traffic flow and thereby reduce dust” (within 60 days) or “ensuring strict action against unauthorised brick kilns” (within 30 days).

• It doesn’t specify an exact date for when these obligations kick in.

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Mains Paper 3: Environment

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Measures taken to curb air pollution

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