Hindustan Times (Delhi)

Centre finalises comprehens­ive action plan to tackle air pollution

- Malavika Vyawahare malavika.vyawahare@hindustant­imes.com

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.

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