NEW DELHI: Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) on January 10, 2019, aimed at reducing toxic particulate matter (PM) pollution by 20-30 per cent in at least 102 affected cities by 2024.
The NCAP is envisaged as a scheme to provide the States and the Centre with a framework to combat air pollution. The programme aims to reduce the concentration of PM2.5 (fine, respirable pollution particles) and PM10 (coarse pollution particles) by 20-30 per cent over the 2017 annual average levels by 2014. It also aims to push through cuts in industrial emissions and vehicular exhaust fumes, introduce stringent rules for transport fuels and biomass burning and reduce dust pollution. It will also upgrade and increase monitoring systems.
Dr Vardhan said that he believed it would substantially improve air quality. “We need to ensure that we give clean air to our children and the generations to come,” Dr Vardhan added.
According to a Lancet Planetary Health report, one in every eight deaths in India is attributable to air pollution which now contributes to more disease burden than smoking.
A K Jain a senior official in the Union Environment Ministry said, “This is our war against pollution across the length and breadth of the country.”