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84 cities submit plans for improving air quality by 2024

People wearing anti-pollution mask in Delhi.

People wearing anti-pollution mask in Delhi.  

Eighty-four out of the 102 cities that have been tasked with reducing toxic particulate matter levels by 20%-30% by 2024 have submitted proposals, C.K. Mishra, Secretary, Union Environment Ministry, said at a press conference.

“We haven’t set any annual targets for the cities but are looking at a periodic review,” Mr. Mishra said at a function to announce the government’s plans to celebrate World Environment Day on June 5. One hundred and two cities, considered India’s most polluted, have been tasked with reducing PM (particulate matter) 10 and PM 2.5 levels by 2024, as part of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). This was made public in January this year.

NCAP targets

The States in which the cities are located are expected to produce plans that include increasing the number of monitoring stations, providing technology support, conducting source apportionment studies, and strengthening enforcement. For achieving the NCAP targets, cities would be expected to calculate the reduction in pollution, keeping 2017’s average annual PM levels as the base year.

The NCAP requires cities to implement specific measures such as “ensuring roads are pothole-free to improve traffic flow and thereby reduce dust” (within 60 days) or “ensuring strict action against unauthorised brick kilns” (within 30 days). It doesn’t specify an exact date for when these obligations kick in.

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