TOTAL OF 102 CITIES HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED IN THE COUNTRY
Chandigarh along with nine cities in Punjab is in the list of 102 cities in the country afflicted with severe air pollution. According to a report released by the Union Environment Ministry on Thursday, Chandigarh and Punjab have been put in the list of a total of 102 non-attainment cities identified for implementing mitigation actions to tackle the increasing air pollution problem under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), which was launched by the Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Thursday. A total of nine cities in Punjab including Dera Bassi, Gobindgarh, Jalandhar, Khanna, Ludhiana, Naya Nangal, Pathankot/Dera Baba, Patiala and Amritsar have been identified by the ministry. Aiming to tackle air pollution, which is regarded as one of the biggest global environmental challenges of today, the NCAP will be a mid-term, five-year action plan with 2019 as the first year, with provisions for further extension to a longer time horizon after a mid-term review of the outcomes, as the international experiences and national studies indicate that significant outcome in terms of air pollution initiatives are visible only in the long-term. “It is a very welcoming step. Multiple sectors such as agriculture, environment etc. will need to come together to attain the desired results,” said Dr. Ravindra Khaiwal, Associate Professor of Environment Health, PGIMER. It will also aim to increase the number of monitoring stations in the country including rural monitoring stations, technology support, set up certification agencies for monitoring equipment and source apportionment studies etc.
As per the information, the tentative national level target of 20 to 30 per cent reduction of PM2.5 and PM10 concentration by 2024 has been proposed under the NCAP taking 2017 as the base year for the comparison of concentration, in consideration of available international experiences and national studies. The action plans in consultation with the Central Pollution Control Board have already been prepared by the non-attainment cities. As per the proposed strategy, sectoral working groups, national level Project Monitoring Unit, Project Implementation Unit, state level project monitoring unit, city level review committee under the Municipal Commissioner and DM level Committee in the districts will be constituted under the NCAP. In the long-term project, specific plans will be formulated according to the cities. Also, the NCAP will be launched using Smart Cities programme for 43 cities out of the 102 identified cities
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