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GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT, FORESTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE
LOK SABHA
STARRED QUESTION NO: 172
ANSWERED ON:  12.02.2021
Improvement in Air Quality
Gaurav Gogoi
Rahul Ramesh Shewale
Will the Minister of



ENVIRONMENT, FORESTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE be pleased to state:-


(a) whether the Government has identified any new emerging patterns for air quality improvement/ deterioration in the country;
(b) whether most cities in the country experienced an improvement in air quality during the initial months of COVID-19 induced lockdown and if so, the details thereof;
(c) whether the air quality is back to pre-COVID levels and gains achieved during the lockdown period have been squandered and if so, the details thereof;
(d) whether the Government has received suggestions from various quarters on the basis of air quality data collected during the lockdown so as to envisage a policy to monitor air pollution levels and if so, the details thereof along with the action taken thereon; and
(e) the other steps being taken/proposed to be taken by the Government to ensure that the improvements in air quality are sustained?


ANSWER
MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOREST AND CLIMATE CHANGE
(SHRI PRAKASH JAVADEKAR)


(a) to (e): A Statement is laid on the Table of the House.



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STATEMENT REFERRED TO IN REPLY TO PARAS (a) TO (e) OF THE LOK SABHA STARRED QUESTION NO. 172 DUE FOR REPLY ON 12.02.2021 REGRADING IMPROVEMENT IN AIR QUALITY RAISED BY SHRI GAURAV GOGOI AND SHRI RAHUL RAMESH SHEWALE, HON’BLE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

(a) Ambient air quality in the country is monitored under National Ambient Air Quality monitoring (NAMP) programme through a network of manual and continuous ambient air quality monitoring stations. The Ambient air quality trend of cities in 5 years (2015-2019) is as follows:
SO2
• All cities except one comply with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards of SO2. (Except in Dehradun, as more stringent norms are applicable for Eco Sensitive Zones.)
• All the cities exhibited decreasing trend.
No2
• 39 cities exhibited decreasing trend, 24 cities showed increasing trend and 231 cities have steady or fluctuating trend.
• Most of the cities comply with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards of NO2.
PM10
• 23 cities show decreasing trend; 239 cities show a fluctuating trend & 38 cities showed an increasing trend.
PM2.5
• 11 cities showed decreasing trend; 79 cities show a fluctuating trend & 9 cities showed an increasing trend.

(b) & (c) It has been reported that COVID-19 related lockdown has resulted in temporary
improvement of air quality in many cities due to closure of industries, reduction in number of vehicles plying, lack of construction activities and absence of human activities. The details of the air quality for major cities in India is atAnnexure-I.

However, the improvement in air quality due to widespread restrictions on operation of major activities was an extraordinary situation and, once normality is attained, pollution levels trend,is observed in business as usual scenario.

(d) & (e) Government of India launched National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), which is very comprehensive plan to tackle air pollution problem across the country in a focussed manner to achieve 20 % to 30 % reduction in PM10 and PM2.5 levels by 2024 from 2017 levels. The concerned ministries, State Governments, Research Institutes, Industries, etc. are partner in this effort.Under NCAP,a National Knowledge Network (NKN) has been constituted with a group of experts from IITs and Institutes of Repute as an advisory board for providing capacity building, State of art technologies, suggestions, advisories regarding air pollution mitigation and abatement to CPCB, SPCB and ULBS.

Further,on 15th August 2020, the Hon’ble Prime Minister also announced to improve air quality in more than 100 cities. Hon’ble Prime Minister has also launched Air Quality Index (AQI) in 2015, which provides air pollution information and health effect in simple form, which can be understood even by common persons. National Air Quality Standards are also based on health consideration.
Government has taken several steps for mitigation of air pollution such as introduction of BS-VI, expansion of Metro, operationalization of Eastern and Western peripheral expressways, shifting of industries to PNG, waste processing plants, online round the clock monitoring of red category industries, etc. The details of initiatives taken by government to combat air pollution is at Annexure –II.
While the Government is making concerted efforts to mitigate air pollution, the citizens should also extend support for the following activities such as:
• Renew your Pollution Under Control Certificate timely.
• Avoid idling of engines.
• Plan your errands to reduce travel time and trips.
• Adopt clean modes of transport.
• Prefer cycles/ e-bikes for short trips.
• Adopt public transportation wherever feasible.
• Avoid Congested routes.
• Segregate household waste
• Never burn waste
• Take recyclable waste to collection centres & earn from waste too
• Compost leaves and garden waste
• Avoid vigorous sweeping of leaves in gardens/ parks – use wide rakes
• Dispose e-waste responsibly.
• Adopt green good deeds and encourage others too.
• Use public grievance redressal apps to inform air polluting activities to authorities
• Share about ongoing clean initiatives with others



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