Air Pollution: Centre revises target for reduction of Particulate Matter from air ahead of festive season; Here’s what is its new goal | The Financial Express

Air Pollution: Centre revises target for reduction of Particulate Matter from air ahead of festive season; Here’s what is its new goal

The Ministry of Environment has further informed that under its NCAP scheme 95 out of the 131 non-attainment cities have shown an overall improvement in their PM10 levels in 2021 compared to their levels four years back.

Air Pollution: Centre revises target for reduction of Particulate Matter from air ahead of festive season; Here’s what is its new goal
Particulate matter PM2.5 are small and fine inhalable particles that can pose a threat to health causing respiration issues and even lung diseases.

The festive season and choking air pollution has become synonymous to the residents of Delhi NCR and adjoining states. Various factors contribute to the rise of particulate matter in the air from busting crackers, and stubble burning to unfavorable climatic conditions that do not allow the air to disperse the pollutants. This year, the center is planning to take added measures to lessen at least 40 percent of the particulate matter concentration in cities covered under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) the target is for 2026, updating the earlier goal of reducing up to 20 percent PM by 024, officials had informed.

The Ministry of Environment has further informed that under its NCAP scheme 95 out of the 131 non-attainment cities have shown an overall improvement in their PM10 levels in 2021 compared to their levels four years back. Moreover, cities like Chennai, Madurai, and Nashik have also met the national standards for annual average PM10 concentration (60 micrograms per cubic metre). The acceptable annual standard for PM2.5 is 40 micrograms per cubic metre in a city, as set by the National Pollution Control Board.

The 132 NCAP cities had not met the prescribed air quality standards from 2011 to 2015.

Particulate matter PM 2.5 are small and fine inhalable particles that can pose a threat to health causing respiration issues and even lung diseases. They are generally 2.5 to 3 micrometers in diameter.

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A senior official said that the NCAP has prepared action plans that include measures to improve the air quality in the cities. These include establishing a comprehensive monitoring network, reducing industrial and vehicular emissions, and increasing awareness about the issue.

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The officials noted that various cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Kolkata, have shown significant improvement in their air quality since 2017. Other cities such as Varanasi, Allahabad, Bareilly, Lucknow, Jamshedpur, and Ranchi have also shown signs of improvement.

In Delhi, the concentration of PM10 has come down from 241 micrograms per cubic meter in 2017 to 196 micrograms in 2021.

Meanwhile, the environment minister of Delhi, Gopal Rai, discussed during a meeting with the engineers of Delhi’s pollution control committee the various strategies that will be implemented to improve the city’s air quality. The DPCC has also been directed to form teams to prepare for the winter action plan.

The winter action plan of the Delhi government includes various measures such as establishing a green app and smog tower, improving the air quality monitoring system, and establishing a real-time source apportionment center.

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