Air pollution: Bengaluru yet to present action plan

Bengaluru: Despite the Centre’s direction to the state to submit an action plan to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on tackling air pollution, which is higher than the national ambient air quality standards, Karnataka is yet to submit the plan, putting the lives of its citizens and future generations at grave risk.

A reply to a Right To Information (RTI) query reveals that none of the four cities – Bengaluru, Davangere, Gulbarga and Hubballi-Dharwad  have submitted the action plan to the CPCB on tackling air pollution.

According to the Greenpeace India’s Airpocalypse II report, released earlier this year, the annual average levels of PM10 were beyond permissible limits not just in four cities but in ten cities in the state.

Mr Sunil Dahiya, Senior Campaigner, Greenpeace India, said, “Air pollution is not a problem just restricted to North India and Delhi. It’s time, Bengaluru and other urban centres in the South to wake up and get the priorities right.”

He said, “Cities like Bengaluru should not become uninhabitable due to our inaction to protect the environment. There are four errant cities, but none of them have submitted their draft action plans to tackle air pollution, as asked by the central government, which raises an alarm.”

The Centre has asked four cities in Karnataka and 13 other cities across four states to prepare an action plan to reduce pollution levels. But 36 cities in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have particulate pollution levels higher than the national ambient air quality standards.

The country should immediately enforce the National Clean Air Programme, which will address air pollution. As per the draft NCAP released in April for comments, city and regional action plans will play a crucial role in reducing air pollution. “These action plans should be formulated on time to reduce pollution. Soon after the monsoons, pollution levels are likely to increase. This can be avoided only if concrete action plans are implemented before that,” Mr Dahiya said.

Of the 13 identified cities in the South, only three are ready with the action plan and have started implementing it.

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