Thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for having highlighted the issue of air pollution in his Independence Day speech, Union Minister for Environment Prakash Javadekar on Monday said that the ministry was committed to reduce air pollution in 122 of the most polluted cities.
Javadekar said that in 2014 the government launched AQI monitoring and today the levels of pollution on eight parameters are being tracked. He was speaking at a webinar marking the first ‘International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies’, declared by the UN.
Member Secretary of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) Dr Prashant Gargava said around 100 cities, which had already drawn up action plans for tackling air pollution under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), have now been instructed to draw up “micro-plans” to target hotspots.
“A city is not equally polluted in all areas. We believe the most effective way to reduce air pollution in cities is to identify the hotspots… We feel that to identify a hotspot and then disburse funds for solutions in these identified areas would be most effective,” he said.
He added that 110 city plans in 23 states were already under implementation while another 12 city plans from five states were under perusal.
Gargava said that air quality monitoring and data management were central in fighting air pollution, and that while 348 real-time stations were required in the country, 173 had already been installed. Another 468 manual stations have also been set up.
“Some of the methods to be implemented to reduce air pollution include modernisation of fleets and public transport, augmenting waste management infrastructure, paving roads to make them dust free and imposing stringent norms on industry and ensuring that they switch to cleaner fuels,” he said.
“Ensuring that the plans to reduce pollution are put in place and implemented are the responsibility of the states and city corporations. Of course, the Centre will give them full support,” said Javadekar.
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