National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) good start but needs transparent action: Greenpeace India

New Delhi March 12 2018 | Greenpeace India accessed exclusive concept document of National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), a flagship program of MoEF&CC to mitigate nationwide air pollution health emergency. The document obtained through the Right to Information application shows multiple aspects of the program along with initiatives.

The announcement of National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) was made on December 18th 2017 to a reply in the Rajya Sabha by the Minister of Environment Forest Climate Change. The framework points out aspects which are good steps towards formulating an action plan.

Sunil Dahiya, Senior Campaigner, Greenpeace India said “it is good to see government’s growing concentration towards air pollution, however there is an ambiguity on the planning given the lack of information on public domain regarding NCAP, there has to be a transparency of information in the public domain and inclusive public participation starting from planning level. The concept note on the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) is a big step in the right direction to achieve breathable air across the country and we hope that CPCB and MOEF&CC along with other ministries and departments come up with a detailed action plan soon and inform the public.”

Lacks Specificity, Timelines and Directions
The draft in its existing form has no reference of specific management activities and source based initiatives for implementation of air quality management systems. “ The draft needs more thinking and clarity in terms of articulating interim milestones for completing source apportionment studies to reduce 35% & 50% pollution in three and five years respectively along with specific targets for polluting sectors such power and industry”; said Dahiya.

Strengthening Monitoring & Evaluation Mechanism
Greenpeace India Airpocalypse II report highlighted that more than 80% of cities in the country where air quality is monitored are severely polluted and it impacts 47 million children across the country. Also, 580 millions number of people in India don’t even have a single air quality monitoring stations in districts they are living.

NCAP emphasizes on increasing manual monitoring station from 684 to 1000 stations across the country and CAAQMS to 268 from existing 84 which is a good step.

Learning from Thermal Power Plants Emission Standards Notification, Dec 2015
Greenpeace hopes that the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) should not follow the precedent set by what is happening with the new emission standards for coal based power plants (communicated in December 2015). Even after the stipulated deadline (December 2017) not even a single power plant complies to the norms and we are still facing the public health emergency of high air pollution levels originating from power sector.
“The fact that this concept note is not even available in the public domain raises concerns on how the government is going to make the NCAP a truly participatory initiative. It’s important that all discussions and documents regard to NCAP to be available in the public domain and people are informed of planning, implementation and progress made through press briefings and other channels”, concludes Dahiya.

Highlights of National Clean Air Programme based on NCAP concept note and minutes of the discussions

National Clean Air Programme framework has the following aspects which is the right beginning towards formulating region/state/city centric action plans.
1.    The discussion within MoEF&CC signifies a target of 35% reduction of air pollution in the next three years and 50% reduction in the next five years for at-least 100 cities across India.
2.    The framework emphasizes on increasing manual monitoring station from 684 to 1000 stations across the country and CAAQMS to 268 from existing 84.
3.    Increasing PM2.5 monitoring infrastructure from 67 stations to all NAMP stations (proposed number is 1000)
4.    Tackling pollution from various sources across the country, identifies power, transport, industry, residential and agriculture sectors and along with inter-city regional pollution background from areas outside city boundary limits, i.e., interstate approaches
5.    Data dissemination to the public, inclusive public participation on planning and implementation for the National Clean Air Programme
6.    Setting up of Air Information Center for data analysis, interpretation, dissemination including GIS platforms
7.    Envisaging Air Quality Forecasting System as a state of the art modeling system, which forecasts the following day’s air quality.
8.    Building up of an updated national emission inventory etc.

Notes to Editor-
1.    NCAP Concept Note-

1.    Greenpeace India Airpocalypse II Report- 

For Further details-
Madhulika Verma, Senior Media Specialist, 9971137736,
Sunil Dahiya, Senior Campaigner, 9013673250,