Gurugram, Faridabad to join National Clean Air Programme
On World Environment Day, today, the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) will be signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and IIT-Delhi, to bring, both, Gurugram and Faridabad under the scope of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).
As part of the NCAP, the HSPCB will be required to create city-specific reports and action plans to curb air pollution in both the districts, member secretary S Narayanan said on Monday, adding, “We do not have a deadline yet, but the plans will be drafted in consultation with IIT-Delhi—our technical consultant.”
The MoU will be signed at Vigyan Bhavan in Delhi.
Launched in January with a corpus of ₹300 crore, the NCAP’s objective, according to former environment minister Harsh Vardhan, is “comprehensive mitigation actions for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution besides augmenting the air quality monitoring network across the country and strengthening the awareness and capacity building activities.” It also aims to reduce PM2.5 levels in all enlisted cities by 20-30% by 2024.
Notably, polluted cities such as Agra and Delhi were included in the NCAP’s list in January, climate activists and environmentalists at the time criticised the programme for leaving out at least 100 Indian cities that were equally polluted, if not more.
According to a January report by Greenpeace, titled Airpocalypse III, several cities in India which had dangerous levels of particulate matter pollution were left out from the purview of the NCAP. The programme has also been criticised for not being legally binding, allowing errant civic bodies to get away with flouting norms.
“Moreover, the reduction targets set by the NCAP are not substantial enough to really clean up the air, as the programme’s name suggests,” city-based air quality consultant Sachin Panwar said.
In February, a month after the launch of the NCAP, improvements in air quality were found in just one enlisted city—Patna.