Centre seeks to reach its clean air goal one year ahead of national target, asks states to step up efforts | India News

NEW DELHI: The Centre on the occasion of the first International Day of ‘Clean Air for Blue Skies’ on Monday sought to bring down pollution level of over 100 polluted cities in next three years and appealed to states to increase budgetary provisions for this purpose and join hands with the central government to achieve this goal one year ahead of what it was planned earlier.
The way forward to achieve this goal was discussed in a review meeting of the existing National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) which has target to reduce minimum 20-30% air pollution (level of key pollutants such as PM2.5 and PM10) in 122 non-attainment cities by 2024 from the 2017 level.
“I am confident that if we all work together, we can do it in the next three years,” said Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar, appealing to states and urban local bodies to work on this goal by taking city-specific air pollution abatement measures.
Javadekar, who chaired the review meeting, referred to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement in his Independence Day speech from Red Fort where he had highlighted the need of “holistic improvement in air quality” in 100 cities.
The meeting was attended by representatives from 28 states and eight UTs to discuss a road map to mitigate air pollution in 122 most polluted cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Varanasi, Chandigarh and Patna among others. These are the cities which do not meet the air quality standards as per 2015 levels. The Centre has already allocated additional Rs 4,400 crore in the 2020-21 Union budget for implementation of the NCAP in these cities for ensuring cleaner air.
Underlining the issue of air pollution as a global problem, the General Assembly of the United Nations had on December 19 last year adopted a resolution to observe the International Day of ‘Clean Air for Blue Skies’ on September 7 every year starting from 2020.
Idea was to create awareness and bring all stakeholders together to find a solution to this menace of air pollution which, as per the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) estimates, takes the lives of 7 million people globally every year.
Many countries globally witnessed multiple pledges on the occasion to reduce air pollution through cleaner actions. In south Asia, 38 cities from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka took a pledge to fight the menace through greater action under an initiative driven by the ICLEI South Asia – a global network of 1,750 local and regional governments for sustainable urban development.
Twenty Indian cities which made the pledges include Kanpur, Lucknow, Surat, Mandi, Nagpur, Bhuj, Patna, Udaipur and Jamnagar.



[Source :Times of India]

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