India’s central government has said 84 out of the 102 cities that have been tasked with reducing toxic particulate matter levels by 20%-30% by 2024 as part of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) have submitted proposals. The NCAP requires cities to implement specific measures such as fixing potholes within two months to improve traffic flow and thereby reduce dust or take strict action against unauthorised brick kilns, within 30 days. While no specific date has been set for the obligations to kick in, experts believe the country has a lot to take away from China’s experiences in implementing its own National Clean Air Action Plan from 2013-2017.
Green court invokes ‘polluter pays” norm against Singrauli, Sonbhadra coal plants; sets sights on Delhi’s polluting units
The National Green Tribunal (NGT), India’s green court, is assessing compensation from the highly polluting thermal power plants of Singrauli and Sonbhadra in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The court said it was invoking the principle of ‘Polluter Pays’, which may require assessment of cost of damage and restoration. The coal plants have been causing air pollution and water pollution in violation of environmental norms in the past two decades in several districts and rivers in the two states.
In a separate development, the NGT asked the Delhi Pollution Control Board (DPCB) to file an action-taken report on polluting plastic units in Narela and Bawana industrial areas, accused of dumping and burning industrial waste.
Air pollution cutting life down from both ends
A new report published by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has found that India’s air pollution problem is killing one lakh children under five years of age annually and is the cause of over 12% deaths in the country. These findings come at a time when concerns are being raised on the high pollution levels in several Indian cities which routinely feature on “Most Polluted” lists.
Elsewhere, scientists have found that airborne metal pollution might also be causing early deaths in adults. Analysing data from 11,382 rural residents of France, in a specially constructed mathematical model, scientists showed that participants exposed to higher atmospheric concentrations of metals had an increased risk of death.