India is committed to clean environment and pollution free air and water. In fact, it is mandated in our constitution. India's commitments and obligations to conservation and protection of environment within the ambit of targeted goals on environmental sustainability under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is manifested in the fact that several administrative and regulatory measures including a separate statute on air and water pollution are under implementation since long. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, was enacted under Art. 253 of the Constitution to implement the decisions taken at the United Nations Conference on Human Environment held at Stockholm in June 1972, in which India participated. Sustainable development, in terms of enhancement of human well- being, is an integral part of India's development philosophy.
However, a vast country and an emerging economy like India, face enormous challenges with its burgeoning population and widespread poverty, in meeting its various other significant commitments associated with poverty and hunger eradication under the SDGs. India has been going through a phase of accelerated industrial activities for the past three decades. The associated growth in terms of industrialization and urbanization has led to manifold increase in pollution issues more specifically air pollution issues.
In recent years, medium and small towns and cities have also witnessed spurt in pollution thus getting fast reflected in the non-attainment cities of India. Air pollution has increasingly been becoming a serious concern, predominantly for health of the people. The reported perplexing statistics in various international reports, drawing correlation of air pollution with various aggravated figures on health, without validation on Indian population further complicates the issues by creating a flawed public perception.
Air pollution emission issues are associated with many sectors which inter- alia include power, transport, industry, residential, construction, and agriculture. The impact of air pollution is not limited to health but it gets extended to agriculture and general well-being of human, floral and faunal population. Furthermore, since air pollution isnot a localized phenomenon, the effect is felt in cities and towns far away from the source. Thus creating the need of inter-state and inert-city coordination in addition to multi-sectoral synchronisation. While the problem of air pollution is mainly urban centric, studies shows the regional scale pollution, which is more concentrated in entire Indo-Gangetic plains of India and more industrialized states. Incidences of episodic air pollution during winters in Delhi NCR in recent years has attracted significant media attention thus bringing the entire issue of air pollution under regular public scrutiny.
In order to address the issue, Government has undertaken many significant steps which inter-alia includes
- notification of National Ambient Air Quality Standards and sector specific emission and effluent standards for industries;
- setting up of monitoring network for assessment of ambient air quality;
- introduction of cleaner gaseous fuels like CNG, LPG etc and ethanol blending;
- launching of National Air Quality Index (AQI);
- universalization of BS- IV for vehicles by 2017;
- leapfrogging from BS-IV to BS-VI standards for vehicles by 1st April, 2020;
- banning of burning of biomass;
- promotion of public transport network;
- Pollution Under Control Certificate;
- issuance of directions under Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981;
- installation of on-line continuous (24x7) monitoring devices by 17 highly polluting industrial sectors;
- ban on bursting of sound emitting crackers between 10 PM to 6 AM;
- notification of graded response action plan for Delhi and NCR identifying source wise actions for various levels of air pollution, etc.
With these recent policy interventions, air quality has purportedly shown some minor improvement in some major cities in recent time which as of now cannot be called as trend. This is not sufficient and higher level of focused time bound initiatives at both city and rural level now appear obligatory to address the issue in comprehensive manner at national level. It is in this context, the need for a National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)-India as national level strategies for reduction in air pollution levels at both regional and urban scales is felt.
Goal of NCAP is to meet the prescribed annual average ambient air quality standards at all locations in the country in a stipulated timeframe. The tentative national level target of 20%–30% reduction of PM2.5 and PM10 concentration by 2024 is proposed under the NCAP taking 2017 as the base year for the comparison of concentration.
- To augment and evolve effective and proficient ambient air quality monitoring network across the country for ensuring comprehensive and reliable database
- To have efficient data dissemination and public outreach mechanism for timely measures for prevention and mitigation of air pollution and for inclusive public participation in both planning and implementation of the programmes and policies of government on air pollution
- To have feasible management plan for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution.
- Collaborative, Multi-scale and Cross-Sectoral Coordination between relevant Central Ministries, State Government and local bodies.
- Focus on no Regret Measures, Participatory and Disciplined approach
The NCAP will be a mid-term, five-year action plan with 2019 as the first year.
The list of 102 cities chosen for this intervention is as follows:
Non-Attainment cities with respect to Ambient Air Quality India (2011-2015) and WHO report 2014/2018
Jammu & Kashmir
Initiatives under NCAP
- Augmenting Air Quality Monitoring Network : National air quality monitoring network to be revisited, past data to be analyzed for rationalization of monitored parameters, and monitoring needs be reassessed for augmenting the monitoring network adopting optimum blending of techniques such as manual, continuous, sensor & satellite based techniques.
- Air Quality Management Plan for 100 Non-Attainment Cities : The city action plans need to be guided by a comprehensive science based approach involving (i) identification of emission sources; (ii) assessment of extent of contribution of these sources; (iii) prioritizing the sources that need to be tackled; (iv) evaluation of various options for controlling the sources with regard to feasibility and economic viability; and (v) formulation of action plans.
- Indoor Air Pollution Monitoring & Management : It refers to the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of air in the indoor environment within a home, building, or an institution or commercial facility.
- Air Pollution Health Impact Studies
- Setting up Air Information Centre
- Certification system for monitoring instruments
- Air Quality Forecasting System
- Extensive Plantation Drive
- Issuance of Notification on Dust Management (Road dust and C&D)
- Intensive Awareness, Training and Capacity Building Drive
- Three tier mechanism for review of monitoring, assessment and inspection for implementation
- National Emission Inventory : An emission inventory is an accounting of the amount of pollutants discharged into the atmosphere. An emission inventory usually contains the total emissions for one or more specific air pollutants, originating from all source categories in a certain geographical area and within a specified time span, usually a specific year. Emissions and releases to the environment are the starting point of every environmental pollution problem.
- Network of Technical Institutions : Knowledge Partners Network of highly qualified and experienced academicians, academic administrators and technical institutions in the area of air pollution will be created to provide holistic services for the establishment and operation of policies and programmes of Government of India on air pollution.
- Technology Assessment Cell : Technology Assessment Cell is being envisaged to evaluate the technologies having significance in reference to prevention, control and abatement of pollution. The cell is expected to focus on both indigenous and international monitoring and abatement technologies. It is also expected to contribute towards evaluating the technology and devising the mechanism of technology transfer under various bilateral and multilateral agreements.
- International Cooperation including sharing of International Best Practices on Air Pollution
- Extending source apportionment studies to all non-attainment cities : Source apportionment study, which is primarily based on measurements and tracking down the sources through receptor modelling, helps in identifying the sources and extent of their contribution. Source apportionment studies which have been initiated in six major cities viz. (i) Delhi; (ii) Mumbai; (iii) Chennai; (iv) Bangalore; (v) Pune; and (vi) Kanpur at present is planned to be extended to all 94 non-attainments.
- Review of ambient air quality standards and emission standards
- Institutional Framework : An effective institutional framework which basically refers to formal organisational structures is the precondition for the successful implementation of pollution specifically air pollution related intervention tools and therefore needs to be considered in particular.
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Source : Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
- National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)
- National Air Quality Index
- National Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP)