An analysis of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) air quality data by the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) tracker has been released. The NCAP tracker is a joint project of the Carbon Copy portal and Maharashtra-based Respirer Living Sciences. This analysis has been released to mark four years of the launch of the NCAP.

 

Details

  • As per the NCAP Tracker based on annual PM2.5 levels measured by the CPCB, Delhi has earned the dubious tag of being India’s most polluted city in 2022.
  • Delhi saw an annual average of PM 2.5 concentration 99.7 micrograms per cubic metre (μg/m3) of air, much above the CPCB standard of 40 μg/m3 of air.

 

Key highlights of the report

  • Some of the top polluted non-attainment cities in 2019 have marginally improved their PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels but continue to breach CPCB’s standards.
  • Most of the least polluted non-attainment cities in 2019 on the other hand, have actually seen an increase in both PM 2.5 and PM 10 since then.
  • Top 10 most polluted list of 2022 are from the Indo-Gangetic Plain.
  • Among the least polluted non-attainment cities this year, nine of the 10 cities have breached the CPCB annual permissible limit of 60 μg/m3 for PM 10. This indicates the air to breathe isn’t safe even in the cleanest cities.

 

Suggestions given by the report

  • Real and long-term solutions lie in an airshed approach for better air pollution management in the entire region.
      • The World Bank defines an airshed as a common geographic area where pollutants get trapped, creating similar air quality for everyone.
      • Uttar Pradesh is the first state in the country to adopt the Airshed Approach.
  • There is need to check pollution at source to obtain maximum benefits from mitigation efforts.
  • Also, much work is needed to reduce the finer sources of pollutants.

 

About the ‘National Clean Air Programme’

  • National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), launched in 2019, is India’s flagship program for better air quality.
  • It was launched as a long-term, time-bound, national level strategy to tackle the air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner.
  • Goal — 20% to 30% reduction in Particulate Matter concentrations by 2024 keeping 2017 as the base year.
  • Under NCAP, 132 non-attainment cities have been identified across the country based on the Air Quality data from 2014-2018.
      • Non-attainment cities are those that have fallen short of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for over five years.
  • Nodal Ministry — Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

 

About CPCB –

  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India is a statutory organisation under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
  • It was established in 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of pollution) Act, 1974.
  • CPCB is also entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
  • It serves as a field formation and also provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • It coordinates the activities of the State Pollution Control Boards by providing technical assistance and guidance and also resolves disputes among them.
  • The CPCB has the power to impose steep fines or shut a unit under the provisions of the Environment Protection Act.
  • Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) was constituted in September, 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.Further, CPCB was entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.