Amid all the bad news on air quality, there is a ray of hope. After two years of incessant public demand for a comprehensive national action plan to tackle air pollution, the government has finally stated in the parliament that they have formulated a national clean air programme to tackle air pollution.

there is hope

In reply to Shrimati Renuka Chowdhury, Hon''ble Member of Parliament regarding ‘Long time policy to tackle the increasing air pollution’, the environment minister has called the following as MoEFCC's committment:

The government has formulated  the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) as a long term time bound national level strategy, to tackle the increasing air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner. The overall objective is to augment and evolve effective ambient air quality monitoring network across the country besides ensuring comprehensive management plan for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution. The NCAP focuses on collaborative and participatory approach comprising all sources of pollution and coordination between relevant Central Ministries, State Governments, local bodies and other stakeholders.

National Clean air Programme

If the programme calls for a time bound plan to reduce different pollutants by X percent within a reasonable time, then a comprehensive strategy to tackle all sources of pollution is vital. What is also imperative is the need for an effective air quality monitoring network system that can assist in monitoring the progress of the action plan and provide people with real time data. The resultant of this should call for a  collaboration between the states to create a regional level corporation.  If all this reflects in the plan that they have formulated, then MoEFCC must be praised for a job well done.

Obviously the proof of the pudding is in the eating. A good policy is only the first step. Everything depends on how well the policy is implemented. As citizens of the country we need to hold the government accountable while also doing our bits towards being responsible citizens.

Nandikesh Sivalingam is the Climate and Energy Campaigns' Manager at Greenpeace India