Smoggy view of the Taj Mahal in the distance, in Agra, India. Photo Credit: Edwin Remsberg/Getty Images

Environment India25. February 2024

We’re Breathing Better Air in Many Cities Here

Five years after launching a national program to combat air pollution in more than 130 non-attainment cities across India, half of them have seen a reduction in particulate matter concentration.

“Although the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) has made noteworthy progress, challenges exist,” explains Aarti Khosla, Director at Climate Trends, a Delhi-based think tank. “As cities add new air quality monitoring stations, strengthened monitoring will give a better picture of the problem and allow for better mitigation measures. These must feed into the next phase of the NCAP.”

The NCAP was launched in 2019 in 131 non-attainment cities with the initial target to reduce PM10 and PM2.5 – ultra-fine particulate matter – by 20% to 30% by 2024, later revised to a 40% reduction by 2026. The study conducted by Climate Trends used data collected from the Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring System. For 49 cities, PM2.5 data was available for all five years, and 27 recorded improvement in PM2.5 levels. As for PM10, data across five years was available for 46, of which 24 saw an improvement in their PM10 levels. Varanasi recorded the most significant decrease in levels, with a 72% reduction in PM2.5 and 69% in PM10.

New Indian Express

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