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Cities focus on reducing vehicular emissions in fight against air pollution

The webinar, organised by Climate Trends, also underlined the significant gaps and challenges staring at pollution control authorities and implementing agencies.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: December 10, 2021 8:13:18 am
Vehicular emissions are the state’s top priority for air pollution management, followed by industrial emissions and resuspended dust.

Maharashtra’s new electric vehicle (EV) policy, which aims to have a 10 per cent share of electric vehicles among total vehicle registrations by 2025, will see a tremendous reduction in vehicular emissions, Dr V M Motghare, Joint Director, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) said.

“Vehicular emissions contribute 30-40 per cent to air pollution. Whatever funds we are getting from the government, we are trying to channel into the EV policy. This will result in a tremendous reduction in emissions and help achieve our target,” said Motghare, while addressing a webinar on Thursday on ‘Decoding Maharashtra’s City Action Plans – A status check.

The webinar, organised by Climate Trends, also underlined the significant gaps and challenges staring at pollution control authorities and implementing agencies. MPCB spelt out the progress that also has been made towards understanding and tackling the state’s air pollution crisis. “Seventy continuous ambient air quality monitoring stations all over Maharashtra will also be live 24/7,” Motghare added.

On this occasion, a new digital platform – Maharashtra City Action Plan Dashboard – was released by the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) tracker. It is the first-ever digitisation of complete city action plans for 17 non-attainment cities in the state.

The dashboard decodes the plan from non-attainment cities of Maharashtra and further simplifies the actions prescribed, deadlines set and budget requested for each city. Experts said that city action plans submitted as part of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), have been digitised to make the documents easily accessible to a wider range of audiences.

Across the 18 clean air action plans from cities in Maharashtra, there are 314 measures – the maximum for any source – which focus on reducing vehicular emissions in the state. Vehicular emissions are the state’s top priority for air pollution management, followed by industrial emissions and resuspended dust.

“Local sensor monitoring work is also under process, but we are still analysing how far we want to use the technology. Health and traffic stimulation studies are also under process. We will also launch a carbon footprint mobile app and will be the only state to have 43 carbon-neutral cities,” the MPCB joint director said.

Mangesh Dighe, Environment Officer, Pune Municipal Corporation said, “At present, there is no institutional mechanism in the city to deal with the air pollution because we have so many stakeholders involved… Therefore, participation of urban agglomerations is important to create a ‘project implementation unit’, which can collect data from all departments and put it on the Prana (Portal for Regulation of Air Pollution in Non-Attainment Cities).”

While more focus has been placed on vehicular emissions, experts feel that other polluting sources – like industry, open burning, construction and demolition, resuspended dust, DG sets, household emissions also need to be in focus.

For instance, 17 cities have proposed 139 action plans and have requested Rs 515 crore to manage industrial emissions in the state. As one of the most industrialised states in the country, an estimate by The Energy and Resources Institute indicates that industry makes up 24.5% of the PM10 emissions and 32.6% of the PM2.5 emissions in the state.

Professor Abhishek Chakraborty from IIT-Bombay, said “We need to prioritise which pollution source needs to be targeted and with how much action and how the fund has to be channelised. Even during the lockdown, some cities were unable to meet air quality standards. We need digitised emission inventories, which are updated regularly.”

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