Environment Ministry to launch three pilot projects to tackle air pollutionhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/environment-ministry-to-launch-three-pilot-projects-to-tackle-air-pollution-5257212/

Environment Ministry to launch three pilot projects to tackle air pollution

An environment ministry official said that Delhi witnessed 56 good air days in January-June period in 2017, while this year the national capital had 65 such days.

Environment pollution
Union Environment Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan. Express photo by Vishal Srivastav

Ahead of the critical months of November and December when air quality dips to severe levels in Delhi, the Environment Ministry has lined up a host of measures to tackle dust pollution, including three launching three pilot projects — mounting filters on buses, using dust separation chemical sprays and installing equipment to suck in particulate matters.

The ministry also said the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) is likely to be finalised by the end of this month and sent to states so that they can make plans to curb air pollution. The Environment Ministry has prepared a draft NCAP with an objective to come up with a comprehensive plan for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution, and to augment the air quality monitoring network across the country. A ministry official said it would launch three pilot projects — mounting filters on buses, using dust separation chemical sprays and installing equipment to suck in particulate matters — to tackle air pollution.

The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute will run the pilor project on installing equipment to suck in particulate matters. “The Environment Ministry will undertake these projects in association with the Delhi government,” the official said. The official said that Delhi witnessed 56 good air days in January-June period in 2017, while this year the national capital had 65 such days. There is an increase in the number of good air days but not a significant one. “That is why we have decided to focus on various measures by the end of September,” the official said. Elaborating on mechanical sweeping, the official said Delhi currently has 34 such machines. By September, Delhi will have 74.

“If we can depute 74, even if the operation is not the best, we will still have good results. By September 262 pillars of the Delhi Metro network will have hanging gardens. They will not only beautify but also absorb dust. Currently, there are around 60 such pillars which have such gardens,” the official said. In the case of water sprinkling, there are around 175 tankers. However, 40 are under procurement which will become any day and by September, there is a plan to procure 185 more water tankers. “We are trying to finish all the works by September 30…before the main crisis period (November-December),” the official said. “We are also working on remediation of landfills,” he said, adding that South Delhi has already started it and it would be completed in six months. Remediation process involves removing of garbage from landfills, stabilising the slopes and covering these with permanent green areas.

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Talking about NCAP, the official said, “We may not notify it in the Gazette. We will finalise it and send it to the states. Then states will make their own plan. This is a scheme. It will be done by the end of the month,” the official said.

Asked whether there would be any timeline for states to follow the programme, the official said, “First we have to assess which state has the capacity to reduce how much pollution. If we make a uniform target and one of the states does not have the resources, it will not serve the purpose.”

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