Majority of cities far from clean air target, says study

Syllabus: GS-III

Subject: Ecology

Topic: Environmental pollution and degradation.

Issue: Air Quality.

Context: A study by Respirer Living Sciences and Climate Trends analyzed air quality data in 49 Indian cities over five years.


Highlights of the Study:

  • 27 cities declined PM 2.5, while only four met or exceeded the targeted reduction under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).
  • The NCAP aimed to reduce average particulate matter concentrations by 40% by 2026 in 131 cities, but progress seems insufficient.
  • Delhi, among other major cities, reports marginal declines or even an increase in pollution levels.
  • Varanasi, Agra, and Jodhpur are notable for achieving more than 40% reduction in PM 2.5 levels, exceeding the 2026 targets.
  • The study emphasizes the influence of factors like geography, emissions, and meteorology on pollution levels.
  • Only four out of 92 cities analyzed have more than 10 continuous ambient air quality monitors, affecting accurate tracking of pollution.
  • The report suggests that the impact of cities’ actions on improving air quality is yet unclear, despite some positive strides under the NCAP.
  • Strengthened monitoring with additional air quality stations is recommended for better understanding and mitigation of air pollution challenges.

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National Clean Air Program:



Conclusion: Indian cities face air quality challenges, showing insufficient progress towards National Clean Air Programme goals, necessitating strengthened monitoring and action.

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