The absence of pollution reduction targets of 35 per cent in three years and 50 per cent in five years in the draft National Clean Air Program (NCAP) of the Environment Ministry is a cause of “grave concern”, Greenpeace India today said.
The comments of the green body came after the ministry yesterday released the draft of the NCAP, proposing multiple strategies to reduce air pollution and inviting comments from various stakeholders by May 17.
Union Environment minister Harsh Vardhan in February had said the ministry hopes to bring down air pollution in around 100 non-attainment cities by 50 per cent in the next five years under the NCAP.
Greenpeace India today said the targets, which were deliberated in the Environment Ministry as per the file noting and was also communicated by the minister to the press earlier, was lacking in the draft.
“After much anticipation, the Environment Ministry has finally uploaded the concept note on the NCAP on its website on Tuesday for public comments.
“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 Sunil Dahiya, Senior Campaigner, Greenpeace India.
The ministry in the draft said the objective of the NCAP is to augment and evolve an effective and a proficient ambient air quality monitoring network across the country to ensure comprehensive and reliable database.
The objective is also to have efficient data dissemination and a public outreach mechanism for timely measures for prevention and mitigation of air pollution, it said in the draft.
Its objectives also include having a feasible management plan for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution.
Greenpeace India said absence of the pollution targets is cause of “grave concern” as they were deliberated in the ministry and communicated by the minister earlier.
“The NCAP needs to have clear interim milestones for all the activities it is proposing such as city-wise action plans,” it said.
NCAP has outsourced all the responsibilities to states by only focusing on 100 cities, and has ignored sectors like industry and coal thermal power plants, which are regulated by the central government, Greenpeace India said.
“For the NCAP to be effective, it has to take a regional approach and emissions from industry and power sectors have high impact at the regional-level and not at the city-level.
“To tackle long ranging pollutants, it will be crucial to have a detailed plan on sectors outside cities,” the body pointed out.
Elaborating on what is good about the NCAP, the green body said it aims to augment the air quality monitoring network, inclusion of air quality management plan for 100 non-attainment cities and allocation of specific budget for strengthening air quality monitoring and forecasting mechanisms along with other activities, it said.
Vardhan had earlier said that the Environment Ministry hopes to bring down air pollution in around 100 non-attainment cities by 50 per cent in the next five years under the NCAP.
Non-attainment cities are those considered to have air quality worse than the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
“We will strengthen the National Clean Air Programme in around 100 non-attainment cities where parameters (air quality) are not right and requires attention.
“In the coming three years, we hope that through this, we will bring down pollution in these cities by 35 per cent and in the next five years by 50 per cent,” he had told reporters earlier.