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‘Citizens of 16 Maharashtra cities likely to breathe polluted air till 2024’

Greenpeace report says target to reduce pollution by 30% via NCAP unattainable

mumbai Updated: Jan 30, 2019 01:07 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Maharashtra,Central Pollution Control Board
Titled Airpocalypse III, the report was released on Tuesday. (Satyabrata Tripathy/HT File Photo)

Weeks after the Union environment ministry released the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) to improve air quality by 20-30% in the next five years, a new report has said the NCAP uses limited data and its list of 102 cities omits a number of highly-polluted locations. Of the 17 cities identified in Maharashtra by the NCAP, citizens of 16 cities — including Mumbai — may continue to breathe polluted air despite the action plan, said the report.

Titled Airpocalypse III, the report compiled by the environmental activist group Greenpeace India was released on Tuesday. It concluded that on the basis of 2017’s pollution data, 25 cities in Maharashtra are unlikely to meet pollution control targets.

Read more: Maharashtra doesn’t breathe easy, air pollution killed 1.08 lakh in 2017

“Assuming 30% reduction across all 25 cities till 2024 from base year 2017 as estimated under the air pollution action plan, 16 cities will still continue to breathe polluted air much above air quality standards even in 2024,” the report said, adding that the NCAP used limited data and omitted a large number of highly polluted cities.

“Maharashtra must expedite finalising ambitious action plans and roll them out to uproot air pollution. The state has to respond with aggression to tackle such a health emergency,” said Sunil Dahiya, clean air campaigner, Greenpeace India.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has identified 17 cities in Maharashtra under the NCAP, based on pollution data from 2011 to 2015. The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) was asked to develop individual targets and dynamic plans with an eye on sector wise sources to reduce air pollution. “For Maharashtra, it is likely that more cities will be added during the second phase. NCAP is an ongoing plan with periodic reviews,” said VK Shukla, one of the scientists that developed NCAP and in-charge of air quality management, CPCB.

MPCB officials said CPCB had asked them to revise the plans based on an order from the National Green Tribunal. “The revised plans will be submitted in two days,” said an MPCB official.

First Published: Jan 30, 2019 01:06 IST

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