To Fight Pollution, Govt Launches National Clean Air Programme
In wake of the deteriorating air quality across the Indian cities and no concrete steps being taken to curb the rising pollution levels, the government’s has finalised the draft of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) and has invited comments and suggestion from the stakeholders.
Here are some important details about the NCAP:
The draft launched by the Ministry of Environment is a 20-point programme that would focus on meeting the annual average ambient air quality standards at all locations in the country. While the Central government has conveniently shifted the onus to the state government, the draft plan also focusses on collecting authentic data on pollution sources, monitoring of rural air pollution and implementing an institutional framework at the centre and state level to take preventive steps.
The program would be India’s first step to fight air pollution in a coordinated way that would require all the states to come up with their own plan. The plan also mentions the time frame for implementing measures but does not have any directives for the states in their action plan.
Under the project, an apex committee will be formed under the environment ministry, a steering committee under the Environment Secretary and a monitoring committee under the Joint Secretary. There would be separate state-level committees with scientist and trained personnel. All the programs framed by states will have to be funded by their own.
The other side
While the centre has finally shown its intention to address the depreciating air quality, the environment bodies have condoned the plan as ‘dreamy’.
The Indian wing of Greenpeace, a global environmental group, has said that the absence of pollution reduction targets is a grave concern. “While this is a big achievement for the people who have been at the receiving end of the air pollution issue, the absence of absolute pollution reduction targets of 35 per cent in three years and 50 per cent in five years is a cause of concern. We believe the ministry will rectify those in the final version of the programme," said Greenpeace India.
The Society for Environmental Communications has also slammed government for not quantifying targets. According to SEC, “It will be interesting to observe whether NCAP’s well-intended and ambitious initiatives without quantified targets would result in significant impact or not. The merit of backing action planning with city-specific data cannot be discounted, but, generating data on source contribution and preparing city-level emission inventories is a continuous and time-consuming process that should not delay the clean air action planning process.”