India has set a target to reduce particulate matter (PM) by 30 per cent in five years, with 2019 as the base year, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) said at the World Health Organisation summit on air pollution in Geneva.
A formal announcement on this is likely to be made later this month, a senior MoEF official told The Indian Express.
Six months after releasing a draft of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), which was criticised for not setting targets to reduce air pollution, the MoEF has set a target to cut down PM levels by 30 per cent.
Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan was not present at the first Global Conference on air pollution and health in Geneva.
The conference was in response to air pollution proving to be a grave concern for health, especially for children in several countries, including in India.
A WHO study had earlier pointed out that 14 out of the world’s 20 most polluted cities were in India.
A deputy secretary of MoEF made a presentation at the summit, where he said that the Ministry was committed “to bring PM10 and PM2.5 levels down in definite percentage terms by 2024.” This will pertain to 102 non-attainment cities in the county.
However, in its draft NCAP that was made public in April, the MoEF had said that linking air pollution to mortality needs more “indigenous studies” challenging global research.
It pointed out that many international studies often report data on mortality due to air pollution exposure and “these studies use extrapolation techniques for air quality and health/disease related data, which probably may not be realistic”.
The Indian Express had reported on the MoEF’s plans to roll out a National Environmental Health Profile Project across 20 cities to look at the quantum of health effects arising from environmental exposure.