State Clean Air Action Plan has been forgotten by all – NGT admits

NGT State Clean Air Action Plans Missing
NGT State Clean Air Action Plans Missing
State Clean Air Action Plan under NCAP has been forgotten by all – NGT admits

NGT takes note of failure of CPCB in framing guidelines for preparing State Action Plan under National Clean Air Plan. NGT, South Zone seeks response from Govt of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Telangana on why no State Action Plan has been prepared.

The National Green Tribunal while hearing a plea on State Action Plan with respect to air pollution mitigation, has admitted the failure of the Central Pollution Control Board in framing the guidelines for the preparation of State Action Plan under the National Clean Air Programme.

The National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), a central scheme launched in 2019 aims to mitigate air pollution in identified “non-attainment” cities across India. The plan sets an ambitious target to reduce coarse particulate matter (PM10) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentration by 20-30% by 2024.

Two years on, most actions planned under NCAP are yet to be initiated. One such action is the collaborative and participatory approach involving State Governments, local bodies, relevant ministries and other stakeholders involved with this programme. Under this approach, Central Pollution Control Board is mandated to formulate guidelines for preparation of the State Action Plan by 2019 and thereafter each State Pollution Control Boards are to formulate and implement the State Action Plan by 2020.

However, it has been found that the state action plan under NCAP has been forgotten by all states. Queries were filed under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) to 23 states, and responses from 17 states were received. None of the states has formulated their State Action Plan. Except for Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, all states have shared copies of their various city action plans, which implies a complete lack of understanding of the idea of a State Action Plan.

Having found such a level of non-compliance, a petition has been filed in National Green Tribunal by Kankana Das, who is keen to protect the environment and wants that all requisite steps should be taken at the National and regional levels to ensure clean air. 

The southern bench of NGT heard the matter in detail and admitted the matter considering the need for the same. In its order dated 29.07.21, the NGT directed the Central Pollution Control Board and State Pollution Control Board of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Telangana and their respective state government to file independent statements and reports focusing on the action taken by them for preparing the state action plan, and the present stage of its implementation and how it is being monitored and implemented effectively by the regulators. The Tribunal had also directed them to detail out the gaps that still exist and the details of actions are being taken by them to fill the gap.

LIFE, Legal Initiative For Forest and Environment, promotes environmental democracy and justice through creative use of law and scientific evidence based advocacy. More about LIFE here.

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