Hindustan Times (Delhi)
Centre finalises comprehensive action plan to tackle air pollution
CPCB HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH ISSUING DIRECTIONS TO STAKEHOLDERS AND TO REPORT ON THE COMPLIANCE STATUS TO THE ENVT MINISTRY
NEW DELHI: The Centre informed the Supreme Court on Thursday that it has finalised the comprehensive action plan to tackle pollution in Delhi-ncr which identifies bodies responsible for implementing an action, and laid down deadlines for each.
The plan incorporates monitoring and oversight mechanisms to check implementation. The plan is based on a draft plan formulated by the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA).
“We are happy with the plan,” said Sunita Narain, director general of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and member of EPCA, adding, “but certain parts have still not been notified. We will ask the ministry to notify them soon.”
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has been charged with issuing directions to stakeholders and to report on the com- pliance status to the ministry. The plan places the onus of implementing relevant measures on state governments of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana.
“We did a long and extensive consultation with all stakeholders, EPCA, the state governments and concerned ministries, and we have agreed on the timelines,” Ritesh Kumar, joint secretary, environment ministry, said. “We will have a meeting next month to resolve the outstanding issues.”
There are two points of disagreement: dieselisation and retrofitting older vehicles.
The plan will be a step forward from the Graded Action Plan that was notified by the ministry in January, 2017, under which different sets of provisions come into play depending on the air quality. “The challenge is daunting because as per the plan, Delhi will have to reduce particulate pollution by at least 74 percent to meet clean air standards. Such a target cannot be met merely with day-to-day emergency response and crisis management,” Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, CSE, said.
A senior official at the environment ministry, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that there was not much difference between the comprehensive action plan and existing plans to tackle air pollution.
According to experts, when the air quality throughout the year remains poor, the comprehensive action plan can tackle the problem in a systematic manner, ensuring the city meets national air quality standards year-round.