New Delhi: Ninety-five of the 132 non-attainment cities covered under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), which targets 20 to 30 percent reduction in particulate matter concentration by 2024, have witnessed an “overall improvement” in PM10 levels in the last four years, the government has said. The 132 non-attainment cities covered under NCAP did not meet the prescribed national ambient air quality standards for five consecutive years (2011-2015). The acceptable annual standard for PM10 and PM2.5 is 60 micrograms per cubic metre and 40 micrograms per cubic metre, respectively.
Cities that showed overall improvement in PM10 concentration since 2017 include Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Patna, Nagpur, Pune, Agra, Allahabad, Bareilly, Firozabad, Moradabad, Kanpur, Varanasi, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jamshedpur, Ranchi, Raipur among others.
In Delhi, the PM10 concentration has reduced from 241 micrograms per cubic metre in 2017 to 196 micrograms per cubic metre in 2021, according to the data presented by Union Minister of State for Environment Ashwini Kumar Choubey in the Lok Sabha.
Responding to another question, the minister said the Environment Ministry has granted environmental clearance to 10 coal-based thermal power projects at the central level during the last three years.
At COP 26 in November last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that India’s non-fossil energy capacity will reach 500 GW by 2030.
He had said India will fulfil 50 per cent of its energy requirements from renewable energy sources by 2030 and reduce its total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes by that year.
India will reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by 45 per cent, over 2005 levels and achieve the target of net zero emissions by 2070, PM Modi had said.
Net zero means achieving a balance between the greenhouse gases put into the atmosphere and those taken out.
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NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.