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Majority of cities far from clean air target

  • Published
    10th Jan, 2024

In 49 cities whose particulate matter numbers were consistently available for five years, 27 cities showed a decline in PM 2.5, while only four had met or exceeded the targeted decline, according to the analysis

Assessment of India's National Clean Air Programme Reveals Mixed Progress

  • Overview of National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) An analysis by Respirer Living Sciences and Climate Trends sheds light on the progress of India's ambitious National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), aiming to reduce particulate matter concentrations by 40% by 2026.
  • Varied Performance Across Cities Among 49 cities with consistent PM 2.5 data for five years, only four have met or exceeded the targeted decline. Cities like Delhi, Navi Mumbai, and Mumbai report marginal declines or even increases in pollution levels, posing challenges to NCAP's objectives.

Data and Information:

1.  NCAP Goals and Shift in Deadlines:

  • NCAP initially aimed for a 20-40% reduction in pollution by 2024 but later extended the deadline to 2026.
  • The program targets a 40% reduction in average particulate matter concentrations in 131 cities compared to 2017 levels.

2.  City-wise Progress and Challenges:

    • Delhi, despite efforts, observes a mere 5.9% decline in annual PM 2.5 levels.
    • Navi Mumbai records a concerning 46% rise, while Mumbai and Ujjain report 38.1% and 46% increases, respectively.
    • Some cities in Uttar Pradesh, including Varanasi, Jodhpur, and Kanpur, show more than a 40% reduction in PM 2.5 levels.

    3.  Impact of Monitoring Stations:

      • The availability and spread of continuous ambient air quality monitors significantly influence reported pollution levels.
      • Cities like Mumbai and Delhi, with numerous monitoring stations, provide a more comprehensive picture compared to those with fewer than five stations.

      4.  Geographical Influences and Meteorological Factors:

      • Variations in PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels are attributed to geographical locations, diverse emission sources, and meteorological influences.
      • Cities in the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP) continue to dominate the list of top 20 cities with the highest PM 2.5 levels.

      5.  Unclear Impact of Actions:

      • While reductions in PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels are noted in some highly polluted cities, the actual translation of cities' actions into improved air quality remains unclear.
      • Strengthened monitoring, as cities add new air quality stations, is expected to provide a clearer understanding of the effectiveness of mitigation measures.

      Way Forward and Analysis:

      • Despite positive strides in addressing air pollution, persistent challenges exist as some urban areas experience an increase in pollution concentrations.
      • The revised goal of a 40% reduction in particulate matter by 2026 reflects the commitment to ambitious environmental targets.
      • The analysis underscores the need for ongoing efforts, strengthened monitoring, and comprehensive strategies to achieve the NCAP objectives and enhance air quality across Indian cities.
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