New Delhi, January 2019| Airpocalypse-III-Report
Airpocalypse III, a report by Greenpeace India, has identified 139 cities where air pollution levels exceed national standards but were not included in the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) that was recently released by the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC). Building on the most comprehensive data set ever published on air quality across the country, the report titled Airpocalypse III states that even if we are optimistic and assume that air pollution across India can be reduced by 30 percent by 2024, 153 cities will be left with pollution levels exceeding the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
The report analyses air pollution data from 313 cities and towns for the year 2017. Of these 313 cities, 241 (77%) had PM10 levels beyond the NAAQS. Thus, all these 241 cities belong on the list of ‘non-attainment’ cities that are required to take action under the NCAP. This is a sharp increase of 139 cities, more than twice as many as the 102 cities included on the list. The omission is due to the fact that the list of non-attainment cities in the NCAP was drawn together using data from the years 2011-2015.
This report shows that even if the NCAP target of 30 percent air pollution reduction by 2024 was achieved, 153 cities across the country will still not even comply with the NAAQS, and only 12 cities will comply with WHO guidelines. To highlight the severity of the crisis, even after a 30% reduction, PM10 levels in Delhi will still be about 168 µg/m3, almost three times the national standard of 60µg/m3.