'Hope to cut air pollution in 100 cities by 50% in nxt 5 yrs'
New Delhi: 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 National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), Union minister Harsh Vardhan said on Tuesday.
Non-attainment cities are those considered to have air quality worse than the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. To tackle the challenges posed by climate change, the ministry has also drawn up an initiative, under which it plans to plant 1,000 crore saplings from 2021 to 2030.
"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," Vardhan told reporters.
The programme will include expanding monitoring network, conducting air pollution health impact studies, setting up of air information systems, certification of monitoring institutes, air quality forecasting systems, awareness and capacity building drives, among others.
It will also include networking of technical institutions who specialise in this area, carrying out source apportionment studies, support for strict implementation of identified actions for abatement of air pollution from all sources in furtherance of management plans and increase international cooperation, among others. The NCAP focuses on a collaborative and participatory approach comprising all sources of pollution and coordination between relevant central ministries, state governments, local bodies and other stakeholders.
For tackling climate change, making the rivers clean and perennial, and enriching forests in the river basins, River Basin Catchment Area Treatment Plan will be taken up.
Vardhan said clean air programme has been taken up in Delhi and the ministry is trying to make it a model.
Experiences gained from it will be replicated year long in Delhi as well as in other cities of the country, the minister said.
Informing the reporters that an initiative has been planned to tackle the challenges posed by climate change, he said, "The plan envisages planting 1,000 crore saplings over a period of 10 years, from 2021 to 2030."