Experts pick holes in drive for clean air

Bengaluru: Though a serious attempt was made in the draft National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) to curb air pollution, activists point out that lack of specific timeframes to achieve these targets was a major loophole.

Greenpeace India has drafted an email urging the citizens to send suggestions to the draft. One of the major suggestions which Greenpeace India has said, “The version of the programme put out by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has ignored polluting sectors such as industry and coal thermal power plants, which are regulated by the central government.”

“Only city specific action plans can’t result in absolute reducing in polluting levels below breathable levels because this is not solid waste and we can’t just put waste of the city outside city boundaries similar to Swachh Bharat Mission, even if we can take that example, The air does not recognize any city, state or national boundaries,” the email draft explained.

Since air pollution takes a toll on the health, the experts are of the opinion that focus should also have been on the health aspects. Moreover, the draft entrusts the responsibility of tackling air pollution on Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Environment Ministry and does not include other agencies.

"Pollution is a major health issue as well. The inclusion of multi-agencies is a must to chalk out the plan on how to counter air pollution. Moreover, the draft is centred around Delhi. Though it talks about the control of air pollution in Indo-Gangetic plain, it does not specifically point out to the cities like Varanasi and Patna etc which are now figure in the list of world's most polluted cities," said Mahesh Kashyap, a consultant with Indian Institute of Science (IISc).

The draft does not have a time-bound target within which they can bring down the pollution by a certain percentage has also attracted criticism. 

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