Bengaluru: The annual survey of pollution in India by Greenpeace has said 231 Indian cities out of the 287 it monitored have air quality worse than benchmark levels.
Eight of these are in Karnataka: Bengaluru, Raichur, Belagavi, Tumkuru, Kolar, Vijayapura, Hubballi, Dharwad and Bagalkote.
They are classed as heavily polluted cities with air quality way worse than the 60 µg/m3 limit set for PM10 under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
As per the fourth edition of the Airpocalypse report by Greenpeace India, compiled after monitoring air quality in these cities for more than 52 days under the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP), PM10 levels in Mangaluru, Kalaburagi, Chitradurga and Mysuru are almost three times the World Health Organisation (WHO) prescribed limit of 20 µg/m3. And in Davanagere, Shivamogga and Hassan, PM10 levels are twice the WHO limit.
Though every city in Karnataka is polluted beyond safety limits, only six cities – Bengaluru, Davanagere, Kalaburagi, Hubballi and Dharwad – have been included in the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) as non-attainment cities and action plans have been formulated for them.
In January 2019, the Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), released the first ever NCAP for the country. Under this programme, cities are expected to reduce their air pollution levels by 20-30 per cent by 2024 over the 2017 levels.
The Greenpeace report clearly indicates that the environment ministry needs to include all non-attainment cities under NCAP. While all the cities listed under NCAP have submitted city-specific clean-air action plans, which have been approved by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for implementation, almost none of these action plans has a definite overall reduction target for 2024.
Commenting on this state of affairs, Greenpeace India’s senior campaigner Avinash Chanchal said, “It's worrying to see that more than 80 per cent of cities have PM10 levels exceeding the 60 µg/m3 limit prescribed under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. If we want to make NCAP truly a national programme, then we have to include all polluted cities and implement it with the addition of specific pollution and emission reduction targets in a time-bound manner.”...