Report released by Bhure Lal, chairperson, Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA)
Breathing Space: How to track and report air pollution under the National Clean Air Programme asks what is the official method, standard operating procedure and legal requirement for cities to report air quality trends against the NCAP target
Nimli (Alwar), February 10, 2020: The National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) has completed a year, at the end of which 122 non-attainment cities have been asked to reduce particulate pollution by 20-30 per cent by 2024 from 2017 levels – they are expected to achieve an annual reduction of at least 6 per cent per year to meet the target.
Says Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, research and advocacy, CSE: “The cities are expected to immediately begin reporting on their annual progress; but for that, they must know the methods and standard operating procedures for such reporting. How will cities know if their pollution levels are rising or declining? This is what our report tries to address.”
Roychowdhury was speaking at the release of CSE’s new report -- Breathing Space: How to track and report air pollution under the National Clean Air Programme – at the 2020 Anil Agarwal Dialogue and Annual Media Conclave being held in Nimli, near Alwar. The Conclave was inaugurated yesterday by Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot. Today’s report was released by Bhure Lal, chairperson, Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA).
Roychowdhury adds: “The report reviews global methods and demonstrates their application to Delhi’s real-time data to assess the changes in air quality, and draws lessons for other cities.”
Currently, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) releases annual average of stations and spatial average for cities based on analysis of only manual monitors. Real-time data is available on its portal, but it is not yet used for legal reporting. As the monitoring network expands for both manual and real-time monitors – says the CSE report -- cities need to know what monitors should be used, how data should be averaged and what geography they should represent.
While air quality monitoring has begun to expand under the NCAP to address the data deficit, without a methodical system for reporting, the data will remain unusable and cannot drive change in cities. Says Roychowdhury: “Given the limitation of missing data, India requires methods for addressing data gaps, as other governments do, to meet the legal requirement of air quality trend reporting and compliance. India has not adopted such methods yet.”
Highlights of the study
Says Roychowdhury: “We are also arguing for stronger awareness about the nature and direction of action to drive change more strategically and for effective impact. CSE has carried out a rapid citizen’s perception survey to show that there is a disconnect between growing awareness about the problem of air pollution and the nature of action unfolding to understand what is needed to meet the clean air targets.”
We need regional action for more sustained improvement in air quality. Establish a legal framework for such intervention.
CSE’s 2020 Annual Media Conclave and Anil Agarwal Dialogue on the State of India’s Environment (February 9-11, 2020) has brought together some key experts on the subject. To see their presentations, visit www.cseindia.org.
The Down To Earth State of India’s Environment Annual 2020 is available here on sale: https://csestore.cse.org.in/books/state-of-india-s-environment/soe-2019-in-figures-and-soe-2020-combo-offer.html
To reach our experts and access other CSE resources, please contact Sukanya Nair, the CSE Media Resource Centre, at firstname.lastname@example.org, 8816818864.