AIR QUALITY OF INDIAN CITIES

  • Recently, the Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, while speaking at the International Day of Clean Air For Blue Skies, informed that the number of cities with improved air quality had increased.
  • On the occasion, he also inaugurated the first functional Smog Tower at Anand Vihar in Delhi and launched Portal for Regulation of Air-pollution or ‘Prana’.
  • Earlier, a Smog Tower was installed in Delhi’s Connaught Place and India’s Tallest Air Purifier was also inaugurated in Chandigarh.

Important points:

  • Cities with improved air quality had increased to 104 in 2020 from 86 in 2018.
  • Particulate Matter (PM) 10 levels: 23 cities marking a “decreasing trend”, 239 cities a “fluctuating trend” & 38 cities an “increasing trend”.
  • PM 2.5 levels: 11 cities showed a decreasing trend, 79 cities a fluctuating trend and 9 cities an increasing trend.

Reason

  • Covid-19 related lockdown had resulted in a “temporary improvement” of air quality in many cities due to closure of industries, fewer vehicles plying, drop in construction activities and absence of human activities.
  • Government initiatives to tackle air pollution also helped in improving air quality in recent years.
  • It was launched under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) in Non-Attainment Cities (NAC), cities which didn’t meet Ambient Air Quality Standards under NCAP.
  • It is targeted to achieve 20-30% reduction in particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) concentrations across the country by 2024.
  • It will support tracking of physical as well as financial status of city air action plan implementation, and disseminate information on air quality to the public.

Air Quality Index:

  • AQI is a tool for effective communication of air quality status to people in terms, which are easy to understand.
  • Graded Response Action Plan for Delhi and NCR has been prepared for implementation under different AQI categories.
  • AQI has been developed for eight pollutants viz. PM2.5, PM10, Ammonia, Lead, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, ozone, and carbon monoxide.

Particulate Matter

  • Also called particle pollution, a term for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. It causes respiratory problems and also reduces visibility.
  • PM10: inhalable particles, with diameters that are generally 10 micrometers and smaller; and
  • 5: fine inhalable particles, with diameters that are generally 2.5 micrometers and smaller.
  • Some are emitted directly from a source, such as construction sites, unpaved roads, fields, smokestacks or fires.

SOURCE: THE HINDU ,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT

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