The Centre has approved air pollution action plans for 102 non-attainment cities that did not meet the annual PM 10 national standard from 2011 to 2015 under the National Clean Air Programme (ANI Photo)
The Centre has approved air pollution action plans for 102 non-attainment cities that did not meet the annual PM 10 national standard from 2011 to 2015 under the National Clean Air Programme (ANI Photo)

102 city air pollution action plans ready but lack regional focus

Delhi’s action plan highlights some major cross-border issues such as exploring the feasibility of U-turns and underpasses near borders to turn back non-destined vehicles, covering trucks carrying construction material and addressing stubble burning.
By Jayashree Nandi | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON NOV 02, 2019 09:09 PM IST

The Centre has approved air pollution action plans for 102 non-attainment cities that did not meet the annual PM 10 national standard from 2011 to 2015 under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).

Delhi’s action plan highlights some major cross-border issues such as exploring the feasibility of U-turns and underpasses near borders to turn back non-destined vehicles, covering trucks carrying construction material and addressing stubble burning. But none of this is possible without regional cooperation among northern states.

NCAP was launched in January last year to reduce PM 2.5 pollution by 20 to 30% over 2017 levels by 2024.

But most of the city action plans published by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) recently on their website are localised, with little attention to regional pollution spikes similar to the one presently affecting the Indo-Gangetic Plain states.

Since many of the cities do not have source apportionment studies (contribution of various sources) unlike Delhi, the city plans do not reflect how the NCAP target will be met in a time-bound manner.

The lack of an air-shed level focus of NCAP in the past 11 months raised concerns among experts that NCAP may continue to overlook issues such as cross boundary transport of pollution, meteorological factors, large regional sources such as industries, brick kilns and thermal power plants.

Amritsar’s action plan, for example, talks about addressing vehicular pollution, control of road dust, control on waste burning and industrial emissions through measures such as phasing out more than 15-year-old vehicles, conversion to CNG, using water sprinklers to keep dust down, greening of open spaces among many others. But these interventions are limited to the city limits of Amritsar.

Similarly, for Kanpur or Lucknow, the city plans focus on decongesting roads, monitoring of diesel gensets, greening open areas, waste management and others but do not specify how industrial stack pollution; stubble residue burning, thermal power plant emissions will be addressed for the entire IGP region, which is the most polluted air shed in India, according to Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC)’s recent research.

Case in point: Thermal power plants in Delhi-NCR had a deadline of meeting emissions norms by December 2019, which would have helped tide over the pollution crisis this winter. The ministry of power had assured the Supreme Court that all thermal power plants in Delhi-NCR will meet the deadline to address severe pollution here but in a recent SC-mandated panel—Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) meeting in October, both Haryana and Uttar Pradesh government representatives said they would not be able to meet the 2019 deadline.

For the rest of the country also, thermal power plants are unlikely to meet the December 2022 deadline as tendering for pollution control equipment has not started. The environment ministry recently had a meeting with banks and power producers to facilitate financing for procurement of equipment. Experts said NCAP should have prioritised industrial and power plant emissions.

Coal-based thermal power industry is responsible for 60% of the industrial sector’s PM emissions (when one includes coal mining), 45% of sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions, 30% of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions and 80% of mercury emissions, says the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

Coal-based power plants totalling 13.2 GW operate within 300 km of Delhi and are a major contributor to air pollution.

The centre’s in-situ crop stubble management scheme to address crop stubble burning will require a course correction as fires peaked this year despite around a Rs 1,100-crore subsidy scheme being implemented in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

“The first year of NCAP has been entirely about city-level action plans, like many of us were concerned it would. Such a city-centric approach alone will not work for a complex issue like air pollution where action has to be at a regional level too. Furthermore, the government has been lax with the implementation of critical interventions like power plant emission standards, where we have arguably moved backwards in the last year,” Santosh Harish, fellow at Centre for Policy Research.

“NCAP was announced early this year following which city level plans were being approved. That process is over for many cities. Actual tracking of action will probably start now. The issue is that presently the extent of the plan is being defined by municipal limits of cities. NCAP needs to move towards a regional air shed approach. Intergovernmental cooperation may be needed as is the case for Delhi NCR,” said Anumita Chowdhury, executive director, CSE adding ground-level impact of NCAP needs to be monitored.

NCAP targets are not legally binding on states either because NCAP relies on a “collaborative” approach and targets are entirely voluntary.

Officials hope sector-specific actions mentioned in the NCAP document will help address those issues.

“The NCAP has sector-specific plants such as Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana to provide LPG to the poor, Swachch Bharat scheme, emission norms for thermal power plants and industries. These will also help,” said CPCB member secretary Prashant Gargava.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Representational image. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Representational image. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Delhi: 55-year-old man killed in a hit-and-run in Vasant Vihar

By Karn Pratap Singh
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 11:15 AM IST
Vasant Vihar police have registered a case of rash and negligent driving causing death and efforts are on to nab the errant driver
Close
The three jails in Tihar, Mandoli and Rohini collectively hold over 18,000 prisoners. (HT Archive)
The three jails in Tihar, Mandoli and Rohini collectively hold over 18,000 prisoners. (HT Archive)

Delhi: At least 80 prisoners out on ‘emergency parole’ fail to surrender

UPDATED ON FEB 26, 2021 10:06 AM IST
As one of the first measures to decongest jails and ensure social distancing at the start of the pandemic, nearly 1,000 prisoners were released on “emergency parole” in April last year
Close
Farmers raise slogans at Ghazipur (Delhi-UP border) during the ongoing protest against the new farm laws near Ghaziabad on Thursday. (Sakib Ali/HT Photo)
Farmers raise slogans at Ghazipur (Delhi-UP border) during the ongoing protest against the new farm laws near Ghaziabad on Thursday. (Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

Farmers’ protest: Key Delhi borders remain shut, traffic diverted

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Zara Khan
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 08:41 AM IST
The Delhi Traffic Police have advised motorists travelling between Delhi and Ghaziabad to use EDM Mall, Anand Vihar, Kondli, Surya Nagar, Apsara, Bhopra and Loni borders and avoid the Ghazipur border route
Close
Representational image. (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
Representational image. (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

Delhi’s temperature to rise further, air quality continues to remain poor

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Zara Khan
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 08:24 AM IST
IMD recordings showed that the maximum temperature at Safdarjung weather station on Thursday, which is the official marker for the city, was 33.2 degrees Celsius, eight degrees above the season’s normal
Close
A bench of justices Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Amit Bansal – who are hearing the other petitions — sought the Centre’s response and posted the matter for further hearing on April 20.(File photo)
A bench of justices Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Amit Bansal – who are hearing the other petitions — sought the Centre’s response and posted the matter for further hearing on April 20.(File photo)

Fresh plea seeks legalisation of same-sex unions

By Richa Banka
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 06:51 AM IST
The plea asked the court to declare that SMA applied regardless of sex to any two persons who wish to marry, by reading down gender or sexuality-based restrictions in the act. This is the third petition in the HC seeking legalisation of same-sex unions.
Close
The government said Western ideas cannot be imported to the Indian context, citing the Indian constitutional law and jurisprudence.(File Photo)
The government said Western ideas cannot be imported to the Indian context, citing the Indian constitutional law and jurisprudence.(File Photo)

Centre opposes petitions for same-sex marriage

By Richa Banka
UPDATED ON FEB 26, 2021 06:40 AM IST
The government said any interference by a court in the marital statute based on personal laws will create “havoc” in society and will run afoul of the intent of Parliament in framing the laws.
Close
Three weeks ago, the Delhi government floated a tender to set up 500 EV charging points at 100 locations across the city.(Pradeep Gaur/ Mint)
Three weeks ago, the Delhi government floated a tender to set up 500 EV charging points at 100 locations across the city.(Pradeep Gaur/ Mint)

North MCD proposal: An EV charging station, battery swap point every 3km

By Ashish Mishra, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 06:24 AM IST
The Delhi government aims to register at least five lakh electric vehicles (EVs) in Delhi in the next five years for which it decided to set up EV charging stations at every 3 kms.
Close
Sisodia said the move will make Delhi the “EV Capital” of India. (ANI Photo)
Sisodia said the move will make Delhi the “EV Capital” of India. (ANI Photo)

All depts will make EV switch by Sept: Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia

PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 06:16 AM IST
With this, the Delhi government will create a hired fleet of at least 2,000 electric cars within six months, which will be used by its departments and agencies.
Close
This street infrastructure is perhaps the kind of installations the city desperately needs in these times.
This street infrastructure is perhaps the kind of installations the city desperately needs in these times.

Delhiwale: An oasis with a cab seat

By Mayank Austen Soofi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 06:13 AM IST
The seat is... an ambassador car, the yellow cab often identified with Kolkata. Actually, it’s just the front of the cab; its middle portion lopped off and a nice cushiony seat fitted into it (which could as well be the back-seat of the same cab).
Close
Protestors pelt stones towards police during the protest. Empty tear gas shells, pins of used gas grenades, stones, bricks, broken glass bottles, three burnt bikes and plastic bottles containing a green chemical were scattered for almost a kilometre on both the carriageways of the 66-ft road, between Seelampur Chowk and Jafrabad Metro station. (Sanchit Khanna / HT Photo)
Protestors pelt stones towards police during the protest. Empty tear gas shells, pins of used gas grenades, stones, bricks, broken glass bottles, three burnt bikes and plastic bottles containing a green chemical were scattered for almost a kilometre on both the carriageways of the 66-ft road, between Seelampur Chowk and Jafrabad Metro station. (Sanchit Khanna / HT Photo)

Riots wounds still raw, Chauhan Banger gets ready for bypolls

By Risha Chitlangia
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 06:08 AM IST
Chauhan Banger with 40,000 voters is one of the five municipal wards where bypolls are scheduled on February 28. The bypoll was necessitated in the ward, as the sitting AAP councillor, Abdul Rehman, won the assembly election from Seelampur last year.
Close
The police contended that though the names of other accused persons could not be mentioned initially in the FIR but police officials have properly identified the offenders in their statement.(ANI Photo)
The police contended that though the names of other accused persons could not be mentioned initially in the FIR but police officials have properly identified the offenders in their statement.(ANI Photo)

Delhi court grants bail to 16 accused in violence at Singhu border

By Richa Banka, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 05:55 AM IST
Additional sessions judge Shivani Anand granted bail to the 16 accused, stating injuries suffered by other police officials were superficial except those on the body of SHO Alipur.
Close
Photo of Pune-based engineer Shantanu Muluk, an accused in the toolkit case.(Reuters)
Photo of Pune-based engineer Shantanu Muluk, an accused in the toolkit case.(Reuters)

Toolkit accused Shantanu Muluk gets safety from arrest till March 9

By Richa Banka
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 05:46 AM IST
The police have alleged that Disha Ravi, Muluk and Nikita Jacob allegedly created an online toolkit intending to help a section of protesting farmers. According to the police, the toolkit was a sinister design to defame India and incite unrest.
Close
At least 53 persons were killed and 581 injured in the riots last year, which was allegedly triggered by a clash between supporters of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and those opposing it.(Sanchit Khanna/HT file photo)
At least 53 persons were killed and 581 injured in the riots last year, which was allegedly triggered by a clash between supporters of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and those opposing it.(Sanchit Khanna/HT file photo)

Police submit 3rd charge sheet in Delhi riots case

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 05:41 AM IST
Using the footage from each camera, police have made an attempt to show the court how on February 24, locals were mobilised between 11.30am and 1.30pm, given weapons and told to gather on the Wazirabad main road to attack police personnel.
Close
Testing of tap water was conducted to check Organoleptic and physical parameters and know the chemical and toxic substances and bacteriological quality besides virological and biological parameters.(Pramod Thakur/HT File Photo)
Testing of tap water was conducted to check Organoleptic and physical parameters and know the chemical and toxic substances and bacteriological quality besides virological and biological parameters.(Pramod Thakur/HT File Photo)

Water crisis looms as Nangal channel gears up for repairs

UPDATED ON FEB 26, 2021 05:38 AM IST
Delhi receives at least 232 MGD (million gallons per day) water through the Nangal channel, which helps meet the city’s 25% water requirement, which is estimated to be 935 MGD.
Close
File photo of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. (HT_PRINT)
File photo of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. (HT_PRINT)

Only AAP capable of challenging BJP across states, says Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 04:37 AM IST
The chief minister on Thursday participated in roadshows in Trilokpuri, Seelampur and Kondli localities, campaigning for party candidates ahead of municipal bypolls in five wards of Delhi scheduled on Sunday. Delhi goes to municipal polls in 2022.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP