The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). It has three important features:
a) Mitigation Actions: NCAP gives special attention to details of various mitigation actions. Web-based three-tier system has been brought into play to monitor, review, inspect and assess the programme to avoid any kind of non-compliance. The system will work independently, without any interference, under the supervision of a single authority. Extensive Plantation drives have been planned at pollution hot spots in various cities and towns. There will be technological support in every step of the programme. South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP) will be explored for regional and Transboundary air quality management. City Specific Air Quality Management Plan for 102 Non-Attainment Cities has been proposed which will help in city specific action. It has also been proposed that the state capitals and cities with a population more than a million may be taken up on priority basis for implementation of the programme.
b) Knowledge and Database Augmentation: Air Quality Monitoring Network has been put into place. It takes the responsibility of setting rural monitoring network and 10 city super networks. NCAP will also formalize National emission inventory. It will track the progress towards emission reduction targets and will add inputs to air quality model.
c) Institutional Strengthening: NCAP is working in an institutional framework. National Apex Committee at the MoEFCC and State-level Apex Committee under the chief secretaries in various states have been put in place for this programme. Various other institutions like Technical Expert Committee and National level Project Monitoring Unit (PMU) at the MoEF&CC and National-level Project Implementation Unit (PIU) at the CPCB will be working in tandem. Air Information Centers have been set up for data analysis, dissemination and interpretation. The NPL-India Certification Scheme (NPL-ICS) for certification of monitoring instrument has been operationalised to keep the instruments in check. Air-Quality Forecasting System (AQFS) has been incorporated. It is a state-of-the-art modeling system which will forecast the following day’s air quality. A network of Technical Institutions and Knowledge Partners will be formed. In this, dedicated air pollution units will be formed in different universities and organizations, which will consist of a network of highly qualified and experienced academicians and administrators. There will be Technology Assessment Cell (TAC) which will evaluate significant technologies with reference to prevention, abatement and control of pollution.
Clean air deals with degrading air quality. NCAP is a small step and in future more steps are needed to improve the quality of air.