National Clean Air Programme:All You Need to Know

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National Clean Air Programme:UPSC IAS Exam

Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan has launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) to reduce particulate matter (PM) pollution by 20-30% in at least 102 cities by 2024.


  • India is committed to clean environment and pollution free air and water. Sustainable development, in terms of enhancement of human well- being, is an integral part of India’s development philosophy.
  • India has been going through a phase of accelerated industrial activities for the past three decades. The associated growth in terms of industrialization and urbanization has led to manifold increase in pollution issuesmore specifically air pollution issues.
  • Air pollution emissionissuesare associated with many sectors which interalia include power, transport, industry, residential, construction, and agriculture. The impact of air pollution is not limited to health but it gets extended to agriculture and general well-being of human, floral and faunal population.

About NCAP:

  • The National Clean Air Programme is a pollution control initiative that was launched by the Ministry of Environment with the intention to cut the concentration of coarse (particulate matter of diameter 10 micrometer or less, or PM10) and fine particles (particulate matter of diameter 2.5 micrometer or less, or PM2.5) by at least 20% in the next five years, with 2017 as the base year for comparison.
  • It is collaborative and participatory in nature, not legally binding on states.
  • The scheme is termed as “war against pollution” across the length and breadth of the country.
  • Following reports by WHO and the air quality data obtained, 102 cities from 23 States and UTs have been chosen as non-attainment cities. With the exception of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru, most of those chosen are tier two cities.
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PM2.5 vs PM10:

  • 5 and PM10 refer to atmospheric particulate matter (PM) that have a diameter of less than or equal to 2.5 and 10 micrometers respectively.
  • Particulates are microscopic solid or liquid matter suspended in the atmosphere of Earth.


  • NCAP is to meet the prescribed annual average ambient air quality standards at all locations in the country in a stipulated timeframe.
  • To augment and evolve effective and proficient ambient air quality monitoring network across the country for ensuring comprehensive and reliable database.
  • To have efficient data dissemination and public outreach mechanism for timely measures for prevention and mitigation of air pollution and for inclusive public participation in both planning and implementation of the programmes and policies of government on air pollution.

About National Air Quality Index:

  • Air Quality Index is a tool for effective communication of air quality status to people in terms, which are easy to understand. It transforms complex air quality data of various pollutants into a single number (index value), nomenclature and colour.
  •  There are six AQI categories, namely Good, Satisfactory, Moderately polluted, Poor, Very Poor, and Severe. Each of these categories is decided based on ambient concentration values of air pollutants and their likely health impacts (known as health
    breakpoints). AQ sub-index and health breakpoints are evolved for eight pollutants (PMlO, PM25, N02, S02, CO, 03, NH3, and Pb) for which short-term (upto 24-hours).

Source:The Hindu

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