Ninety-five of the 132 non-attainment cities covered under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), which targets a 20 to 30 percent reduction in particulate matter concentration by 2024, have witnessed an “overall improvement” in PM10 levels in the last four years, the government has said.
The 132 non-attainment cities covered under NCAP did not meet the prescribed national ambient air quality standards for five consecutive years (2011-2015).
The acceptable annual standard for PM 10 and PM2.5 is 60 micrograms per cubic meter and 40 micrograms per cubic meter, respectively.
Cities that showed overall improvement in PM 10 concentration since 2017 include Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Patna, Nagpur, Pune, Agra, Allahabad, Bareilly, Firozabad, Moradabad, Kanpur, Varanasi, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jamshedpur, Ranchi, Raipur among others.
In Delhi, the PM10 concentration has reduced from 241 micrograms per cubic meter in 2017 to 196 micrograms per cubic meter in 2021, according to the data presented by the Union Minister of State for Environment Ashwini Kumar Choubey in the Lok Sabha.
Responding to another question, the minister said the Environment Ministry has granted environmental clearance to 10 coal-based thermal power projects at the central level during the last three years.
At COP 26 in November last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India’s non-fossil energy capacity will reach 500 GW by 2030.
He had said India will fulfill 50 percent of its energy requirements from renewable energy sources by 2030 and reduce its total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes by that year. India will reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by 45 percent, over 2005 levels, and achieve the target of net zero emissions by 2070, PM Modi had said.
Net zero means achieving a balance between the greenhouse gases put into the atmosphere and those taken out.