The number of cities in India suffering from poor air quality continues to increase despite the country having a national program aimed at tackling the problem, according to a new study.
A report by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air found that 132 Indian cities now have pollution levels below national standards, up from 102 cities when the National Clean Air Program (NCAP) was launched in 2019.
The NCAP aims to reduce particulate matter emissions by as much as 30 percent of 2017 levels by 2024, but unclear action plans from authorities, limited funding, and a lack of tight implementation of emissions standards are factors hindering the strategy’s progress, CREA said.
CREA added that the NCAP also lacks a framework for coordination between government agencies to tackle the issue.
India “should start acting on a war scale” to address the issue, the report said. “Stringent actions should be implemented across sectors to reduce emission loads.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government was previously criticized for extending deadlines to enforce pollution standards on power plants, and for not yet setting a timeframe to reduce India’s coal consumption which accounts for over half of the country’s energy mix.
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