'Delhi Air Quality Improved in Last 3 Years,' Says Union Minister Prakash Javadekar to Rajya Sabha
Union Environment Minister Prakash K Javadekar | File Image | (Photo Credits: PTI)

New Delhi, November 22: The national capital's air quality has improved in the last three years and the number of 'good' and 'moderate' days has increased, according to a report tabled by Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar. It also said that there has been an overall improvement in the air quality of Delhi in 2019 (from January-November 19) successively from 2016. Delhi Air Pollution: AQI Hovers Between 'Hazardous' And 'Very Poor' Category, Air Quality May Turn 'Severe' Again in Next Few Days.

"As per continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations data, there is a general improvement in the air quality of Delhi in 2018 from 2017," Javadekar said. The numbers of 'good', 'satisfactory' and 'moderate' days has increased to 159 in 2018 as compared to 152 in 2017 and 106 in 2016, while the number of 'poor', 'very poor' and 'severe' days has reduced to 206 in 2018 compared to 213 in 2017 and 246 in 2016.

"In Delhi, reduction in PM 2.5 levels in 2018 is 7.3 per cent over 2017 and 14.8 per cent over 2016. In Delhi, reduction in PM10 levels in 2018 is 8.6 per cent over 2017 and 16.5 per cent over 2016," the minister said in the report table in the Upper House of Parliament.

"Further, there is an overall improvement in the air quality of Delhi in 2019 (from January-November 19) successively since 2016. The number of 'good' to 'moderate' days increased to 175 in 2019, as compared to 158 in 2018 while the number of 'poor' to 'severe' days reduced to 148, compared to 165 in 2018," the report said.

Informing the House about the step taken by the government to tackle the issues, he said a high-level task force has been set up under the chairmanship of the principal secretary to the prime minister in November 2017, which is closely monitoring the implementation of measures related to the management of air pollution in Delhi and NCR.

A comprehensive Air Plan for the national capital region has been developed identifying the timeline and a source-based approach has been adopted to control air pollution.

The Environment Ministry also launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) in January to tackle the problem of air pollution in a comprehensive manner with targets to achieve 20 to 30 per cent reduction in PM 10 and PM 2.5 concentration.

This would be achieved by 2024 keeping 2017 as the base year. Moreover, over the vehicular emissions, BS-VI emission norms would be applicable in the country from April 1, 2020, and this would lead to 80 per cent reduction in particulate matter emissions.

The government has also taken initiatives for stringent emission norms for coal-based thermal plants and has closed Badarpur Thermal power plant from October 15, 2018.

In order to prevent stubble burning, a new central sector scheme on the promotion of agricultural mechanisation for in-situ management of crop residue in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi is being implemented.