Air pollution at crisis levels in North India,says Niti Aayog; spells out three-year plan | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Air pollution at crisis levels in North India,says Niti Aayog; spells out three-year plan

Press Trust of India, New Delhi | ByPress Trust of India
Aug 24, 2017 10:46 PM IST

Noting that air pollution has reached crisis level in Northern India, government think-tank Niti Aayog has recommended a slew of measures like imposing higher taxes on petrol in and around the more polluted cities

Noting that air pollution has reached crisis level in Northern India, government think-tank Niti Aayog has recommended a slew of measures like imposing higher taxes on petrol in and around the more polluted cities to encourage commuters to share cars and take public transportation.

It noted that air pollution has reached crisis levels in Northern India and though it is much publicised in Delhi, it is also widespread in many other cities and as many as ten of the top 20 most polluted cities in the world are in India.(AFP File Photo)
It noted that air pollution has reached crisis levels in Northern India and though it is much publicised in Delhi, it is also widespread in many other cities and as many as ten of the top 20 most polluted cities in the world are in India.(AFP File Photo)

The Aayog, in its ‘Three Year Action Agenda to be implemented till 2019-20’ and released by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, also suggested making public transportation faster and more comfortable to discourage the use of private vehicles.

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now!

It has identified coal power plants, brick kilns, vehicles, cooking and heating fires which burn biomass, rubbish burning and burning of crop residue and dust from construction as the “major” source of air pollution.

It noted that air pollution has reached crisis levels in Northern India and though it is much publicised in Delhi, it is also widespread in many other cities and as many as ten of the top 20 most polluted cities in the world are in India.

It recommended actions like finding alternatives to crop residue burning, reducing pollution from cooking fires and installing flu gas de-sulpherizers on all coal power plants in or close to densely populated areas except those less than 5MW capacity and those older than 25 years by 2020.

It also suggested switching to cleaner technologies to reduce pollution from brick kilns considerably within three years.

“A number of complementary steps can be taken (to reduce in-city-vehicle pollution). First making public transportation faster and more comfortable will discourage the use of private vehicles.

“Metro or bus based rapid transit systems connecting suburbs and city centre and a dense in-city transport system will go some distance towards achieving the objective,” it proposed.

It also talked about replacement of vehicles from petrol and diesel to CNG, infrastructure improvements which allow vehicles travelling long distances to bypass the cities without entering, higher taxes on petrol to encourage commuters to share cars and other measures to cut emissions.

“Higher taxes on petrol in and around more polluted cities would encourage commuters to share cars and take public transportation.

“Higher parking fees and park and ride facilities will have similar effects,” it recommended.

As far finding alternatives to crop residue burning was concerned, the document noted that ‘Happy Seeder’, a machine developed by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO Australia) and Punjab Agricultural University, allows planting of wheat through the residue.

It said that the machine was introduced about five years ago and has been shown to reduce field preparation costs marginally and maintain yields and profits of wheat, which has led some farmers to adopt it.

“In view of the urgency of the problem and the large benefit from putting an end to crop residue burning, a larger subsidy on the machine for limited time complemented by extension and information campaigns may eliminate the problem within the next three years,” it said.

It also suggested installation of Flue-gas De-sulphurizers on all coal power plants in or close to densely populated areas except those less than 5 MW capacity and those older than 25 years by 2020.

The older power plants should be shut down and retired in a phased manner, it said while adding that this will cut emissions of Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) gas that becomes sulphate particles in the atmosphere.

“It will also reduce particulate (smoke) emissions directly.

“The average cost of doing this along with improvements in fly ash removal and control of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) emissions has been estimated to be 35-40 paise/KWh, and could reduce the PM2.5 concentrations by 30-40 per cent,” it recommended.

Discover the pivotal moments that shaped India's electoral journey on the Eras section of our exclusive Elections product. Access all content absolutely free on the HT App. Download now!

Get Current Updates on India News, Elections 2024, Election 2024 Date along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, May 02, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On