The Centre on Thursday set a “tentative” national level target of 20-30 per cent reduction in PM2.5 — particulate matter 2.5 micrometre or less in diameter — and PM10 concentration within the next five years, keeping 2017 as the base year for the comparison of concentration. It noted that it arrived at these figures taking into account “available international experiences” and “national studies”.
Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan Thursday launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) said it was “collaborative and participatory in nature” but will not be “legally binding on states”. Ministry of Environment and Forests additional secretary A K Jain termed the scheme a “war against pollution” across the length and breadth of the country.
The target will be effective in 102 polluted cities across the country. It will also use the Smart Cities programme to launch the NCAP in 43 Smart cities in the list of 102 non-attainment cities — cities considered to have air quality worse than the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
“The global experiences clearly highlight the fact that internationally, the actions had been city specific rather than country oriented and, accordingly, the statistics indicates 35-40% PM2.5 reduction in five years for cities, such as Beijing and Seoul,” the NCAP report states.
While it terms itself as a “mid-term” five-year action plan, the NCAP points out that “international experiences and national studies” indicate that significant outcome in terms of air pollution initiatives are visible only in the long-term, and hence the programme may be further extended to 20-25 years in the long-term after a mid-term review of the outcomes.