A cure for air
Mains Paper 3: Environment
Prelims level: National Clean Air Programme
Mains level: Environmental Impact Assessment
- In May, a WHO report revealed that 14 of the 15 most polluted
cities in the world are in India.
- While the global health body’s finding was worrying in itself, it
has acquired graver proportions in light of a new study published in The
Lancet Journal of Planetary Health.
- Polluted air is a cause of one in eight deaths in the country, the
- Conducted as part of the India State-Level Disease Burden
Initiative, it points out that “the average life expectancy in the country
would have been 1.7 years higher if the air pollution were less than the
level at which health is harmed”.
- It notes that contrary to the popular association of pollution
with respiratory diseases, poor air is responsible for heart diseases as
- These disturbing revelations underline that India’s battle against
air pollution needs much more than ad-hoc reactions such as bans, fines and
shutting down of power stations.
Steps taken by the government
- The India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative is a collaboration
between the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Indian Council of Medical
Research, Public Health Foundation of India, Institute of Health Metrics and
Evaluation and experts from more than 100 institutions.
- This coming together of government officials and public health
experts is a far cry from the times when the country’s poor performance on
health and environmental indicators was treated with indifference by the
- It’s also heartening that the public health challenge of pollution
has got policy focus with the Ayushman Bharat Programme emphasising the need
to combat non-communicable diseases.
- By providing estimates of the health impact of pollution in every
state, the collaborative initiative should sharpen such a focus.
- Despite the obvious links between pollution control and public
health, there has been scarcely any collaboration between the ministries of
health and environment.
- It has been known for more than a decade that the failure of
public transport systems to cope with the rapid pace of urbanisation has
aggravated the burden of air pollution-related diseases.
- But Indian cities have never had pollution control policies that
draw on the combined expertise of public health professionals, transport
sector specialists, environmentalists and urban planners.
- This shortcoming has reduced the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)
to a mere data gathering exercise with little effect on mitigating the
effects of pollution.
- The Inter State-Level Disease Burden Initiative could meet the
same fate if pollution control and public health authorities do not break
Q.1) Consider the following statements about National Clean Air Programme.
A. National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) provides for setting up 1,000 manual
air-quality-monitoring stations with an increase of 45% from present number and
268 automatic stations triple the current 84.
B. NCAP is also planing to setup air-quality-monitoring stations in rural areas.
C. A separate component on ‘Technology Assessment Cell’ has been envisaged under
NCAP to evaluate the technologies for prevention, control and abatement of air
D. The government is planning to certify pollution monitoring instruments to
improve the measurement and forecast of air pollution episodes, the move is
motivated by two major point 1) To boost local manufacturing and 2) To fulfil
massive demand for such instruments as part of the government?s National Clean
Air Programme (NCAP)
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2,3 and 4
Q.1) What is National Clean Air Programme? Discuss its key importance?