New Delhi: The Centre provided Rs 8,915 crore in the last four years to improve air quality in the 131 cities covered under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav has said. Addressing a meeting of the National Apex Committee under NCAP on Wednesday (March 15), Mr Yadav emphasised the need for coordinated action by central and state governments, Union territory administrations, urban local bodies and state pollution control boards to improve air quality.
Minister Yadav appreciated the performance of 95 cities which have improved air quality and 20 cities which met the national ambient air quality standards in the financial year 2021-22 under the programme, a statement said.
He spoke on the significance of the airshed approach adopted in the Indo-Gangetic plains and stressed the need for regional cooperation to address the issue of air pollution.
NCAP is a national-level strategy for a 20 per cent to 30 per cent reduction in PM2.5 and PM10 concentration by 2024, with 2017 as the base year for comparison. The programme covers 131 non-attainment cities which did not meet the prescribed national ambient air quality standards for five consecutive years (2011-2015).
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The Centre has set a new target of 40 per cent reduction in particulate matter concentration in the cities covered under NCAP by 2026.
According to the Union Environment Ministry, 95 of the 131 non-attainment cities covered under NCAP have witnessed an “overall improvement” in PM10 levels in 2021 as compared to 2017 levels.
Twenty cities, including Chennai, Madurai and Nashik, have met the national standards for annual average PM10 concentration (60 microgram per cubic metre).
The acceptable annual standard for PM2.5 is 40 micrograms per cubic metre.
PM2.5 are fine inhalable particles, with diameters that are generally 2.5 micrometers and smaller, and are the greatest risk to health.
Minister of State for Environment Ashwini Kumar Choubey congratulated Lucknow, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Moradabad, Firozabad, Amravati, Dewas, Sunder Nagar and Nalagarh which have received a cash award under the Swacchh Vayu Sarvekshan conducted for the financial year 2022-23.
He requested states and Union territories to submit proposals under the Nagar Van Yojana and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation for increasing the green cover in NCAP cities, the statement said.
The ministers also emphasised the importance of Mission LiFE launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking citizen-centric actions to protect and conserve the environment.
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(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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.