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28th September 2022 (9 Topics)

Centre aims at 40 percent reduction in particulate matter by 2026


The Centre has set a new target of 40 percent reduction in particulate matter concentration in cities covered under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) by 2026, updating the earlier goal of 20 to 30 percent reduction by 2024.


National Clean Air Programme (NCAP):

  • It was launched by the MoEFCC in January
  • It is the first-ever effort in the country to frame a national framework for air quality management with a time-bound reduction target.
  • 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. (Now set at 40% by 2026.)
  • Objectives
    • 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.
  • Approach:
    • 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
    • Under NCAP, 131 cities are being targeted for improving air quality.
    • Of these 131 cities, 123 cities (NACs) are identified under NCAP based on non-conforming to national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) consecutively for five years.
    • In addition, million plus cities (MPCs) are also covered, those identified by 15th
      Finance Commission (XV-FC), for receiving performance based grant for air quality improvement.
    • Out of 42 MPCs, 34 cities are common under NCAP.
    • Thus, 131 cities (NACs and MPCs) are being monitored under the NCAP for improving air quality.
  • NCAP Initiatives: The initiatives under NCAP are listed below:
    • The National Air Quality Monitoring Network will be augmented.
    • Air Quality Management Plan for the cities chosen.
    • Indoor Air Pollution Monitoring & Management
    • National Emission Inventory – this is an inventory of the quantity of pollutants discharged into the air.
    • Network of Technical Institutions
    • Technology Assessment Cell
    • International cooperation including the sharing of best practices with respect to abatement of air pollution.

Key findings of Union Ministry:

  • According to the Union Environment Ministry, 95 of the 131 non-attainment cities covered under the NCAP have witnessed an “overall improvement” in PM10 levels in 2021 as compared to 2017 levels.
  • Twenty cities, including Chennai, Madurai and Nashik, have met the national standards for annual average PM10 concentration (60 microgram per cubic metre).
  • The acceptable annual standard for PM2.5 is 40 micrograms per cubic metre.
  • In Delhi, the PM10 concentration has reduced from 241 micrograms per cubic metre in 2017 to 196 micrograms per cubic metre in 2021.

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