Air Pollution in India & NCAP

Air Pollution in India & NCAP

For Prelims: Program for National Clean Air, Central Pollution Control Board

For Mains: Initiatives to Reduce Air Pollution, Environmental Pollution & Degradation

Why in News?
According to analysts, the National Clean Air Campaign's (NCAP) efforts have only slightly reduced pollution in most urban areas.

What do we need to know about the National Clean Air Programme?

A national framework for air quality management with a time-bound reduction target has never been attempted in the nation before. The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) introduced it in January 2019. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) designated 132 cities as non-attainment cities, and it covers those cities.


  • In accordance with a set timeline, NCAP aims to achieve the required annual average ambient air quality standards nationwide.
  • Using 2017 as the base year for concentration comparisons, the NCAP proposes a tentative national-level target of a 20%–30% reduction in PM2.5 and PM10 concentration by 2024.


  • In order to create a thorough and trustworthy database, it is necessary to expand and develop effective and efficient ambient air quality monitoring networks across the nation.
  • To ensure that information is effectively shared, the public is reached, and the general public is included in developing and implementing government programs and policies on air pollution.
  • To have an effective management plan for reducing, controlling, and preventing air pollution.


  • Coordination between relevant Central Ministries, State Governments, and Local Bodies on a collaborative, multi-scale, and cross-sectoral basis.
  • Concentrate on regret-free practices, a participatory approach, and discipline.
  • 2019 will serve as the first year of the NCAP, a mid-term, five-year action plan

Has NCAP been successful in cutting pollution?

  • Through the NCAP Tracker, a collaboration between two organizations involved in air pollution policy, we have been monitoring our progress toward achieving the 2024 clean air targets.
  • The national capital of Delhi was the most polluted city among non-attainment cities in 2022. However, compared to 2019, Delhi's PM2.5 levels have increased by over 7%.
  • The Indo-Gangetic Plain provided the majority of the cities in the top 10 list of 2022's most polluted cities.
  • In 2022, the PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations in nine out of the ten cities with the worst pollution in 2019 have decreased.
  • With nearly identical numbers, 16 NCAP and 15 non-NCAP cities reported a significant rise in annual PM2.5 levels.
  • This suggested that non-NCAP and NCAP cities were as likely to be polluted, with the less effectiveness of NCAP.

NCAP-related initiatives

  • Expansion of the Air Quality Monitoring Network:
  • The national air quality monitoring network needs to be reviewed, historical data should be examined for rationalizing monitored parameters, and monitoring requirements should be reevaluated to enhance the monitoring network with the best possible blending of techniques, including manual, continuous, sensor-based, and satellite-based techniques.
  • 100 Non-Attainment Cities Air Quality Management Plan: 

A comprehensive, science-based approach that includes what is needed to influence the city's action plans is

  •  (i) recognizing emission sources;
  • (ii) evaluation of the volume of these sources' contributions; 
  • (iii) the sources that need to be addressed are prioritized; 
  • (iv) a feasibility and financial viability assessment of various sources-controlling options; and 
  • (v) action plans creation
  • Monitoring and control of indoor air pollution: 
  • It refers to the air's physical, chemical, and biological properties as it exists inside a building, house, school, or other indoor public or private space.
  • Health Effects of Air Pollution Studies
  • construction of an air information centre
  • Instruments for monitoring systems certification
  • a system for predicting air quality
  • a long stretch of Plantation Drive
  • Notification of an Intensive Awareness-Raising, Training, and Capacity-Building Campaign for Dust Management (Road Dust and C&D)
  • Review of monitoring, assessment, and implementation inspection on a three-tiered system
  • Inventories of National Emissions: 
  • The amount of pollutants released into the atmosphere is counted in an emission inventory. 
  • An emission inventory generally includes the total emissions for a single source category's contribution to one or more specific air pollutants in a given geographic area over a given time period, usually a single calendar year. 
  • Every issue with environmental pollution begins with emissions and releases into the environment.
  • Technical Institutions Network: 
  • To provide comprehensive services for establishing and administering Government of India policies and programs on air pollution, a Knowledge Partners Network of highly skilled and experienced academicians, academic administrators, and technical institutions in the field will be established.
  • Cell for Technology Assessment: 
  • A technology assessment cell is planned to assess the technologies necessary for pollution control, prevention, and mitigation. 
  • Both domestic and foreign monitoring and mitigation technologies are expected to be the focus of the cell. 
  • In accordance with a number of bilateral and multilateral agreements, it is also anticipated to help evaluate technology and develop the mechanism for technology transfer.
  • Sharing international best practices for reducing air pollution is one example of international cooperation.
  • All non-attainment cities will be subject to source apportionment studies.

It is possible to determine the sources and the extent of their contribution by using a source apportionment study, primarily based on measurements and locating the sources using receptor modelling. 
Studies on source allocation have been started in six significant cities, including: 

  • (i) Delhi; 
  • (ii) Mumbai;
  • (iii) Chennai; 
  • (iv) Bangalore; 
  • (v) Pune; and 
  • (vi) It is currently intended for Kanpur to be expanded to include all 94 non-attainments.
  • Examining emission standards and standards for ambient air quality
    Institutional Framework: 
  • The prerequisite for successfully implementing pollution, specifically air pollution-related intervention tools, is an adequate institutional framework, which essentially refers to formal organizational structures. For this reason, consideration must be given in particular to this requirement.




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