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Information on emission sources crucial to tackle air pollution in Nagpur: CEEW-Urban Emissions

Only 20% of the interventions in Nagpur’s clean air plan calls for on-ground pollution control measures.

Nagpur, 30 June 2020: Nagpur’s clean air plan does not contain information on the sources of air pollution, according to a new independent analysis released today by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) and Urban Emissions. In contrast, Chandrapur’s plan is among the five plans in Maharashtra that contain emissions sources information. The analysis highlights identification, mapping and estimation of source contributions as a crucial step in prioritising air pollution mitigation efforts, targeting appropriate emission sources and having maximum on-ground impact. The analysis also states that Nagpur’s clean air plan lacks a legal mandate for implementation.

India’s National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) recommended 102 cities, including Nagpur, to create city-specific clean air plans as a primary mitigation measure for reducing particulate concentration by 20% to 30% by 2024.

Currently, over 80 per cent of the actions mentioned in Nagpur’s plan involve overseeing, planning, proposing, preparing, investigating, identifying, ensuring, banning, initiating, launching, planning, restricting and promoting. This implies that only 20% of the interventions call for on-ground pollution control measures. Also, 38 per cent of Nagpur’s action strategies are directed at the transport sector and 20 per cent target industries. While not entirely budgeted, Nagpur’s plan does estimate financial requirements for certain activities.

“During the lockdown, the only real-time monitoring station in Nagpur reported a 30 per cent decline in PM2.5 concentrations. However, to tackle air pollution in the city in the long-term, a single monitoring station for a city with over 2 million population is insufficient. The Maharashtra pollution control board and the Nagpur municipal corporation must collectively prioritise the setting up of more monitoring stations and creating trackable indicators to oversee the progress of implementation of this plan,” said Tanushree Ganguly, a researcher at CEEW and a co-author of the study.

The CEEW-Urban Emissions analysis also finds that Nagpur’s city plan lists 66 measures across 17 different agencies. While the state pollution control board (SPCB) is responsible for only 20% of all actions in Nagpur, the urban local bodies (ULB) and state transport department share the burden of almost 60% of the actions. Moreover, 34% of actions fall under multiple agencies. Further, independent estimates suggest that 21% of the pollution in Nagpur could originate outside city limits. However, the plan does not include any measures to ensure regional coordination.

“With over 30% of the activities shared across multiple agencies, fragmentation of accountability is a key impediment. Hence, it is crucial to delineate specific tasks for each action point among participating agencies,” said Kurinji Selvaraj, a researcher at CEEW and a co-author of the study.

Chandrapur’s plan

Chandrapur’s plan does not list the financial requirements for executing the actions listed. In addition to being a non-attainment city, Chandrapur is also designated as a critically polluted industrial area. Over 30 per cent of the actions listed in Chandrapur’s plan address emissions from industries and power plans. All the industrial pollution mitigation measures have a 12-month timeline for implementation. In fact, over 80 per cent of the actions in the plan have an implementation timeline of less than a year.

“For plans like Chandrapur that list a considerable proportion of short term measures, estimating financial requirements for executing the plan becomes all the more crucial. Also, a progress reporting mechanism should be institutionalised to track efforts by all responsible agencies”, said Kurinji Selvaraj.

Maharashtra’s plan

As per the study, only five non-attainment cities in Maharashtra - Amravati, Aurangabad, Kolhapur, Chandrapur, and Mumbai - of the 17 with approved action plans contain information of emission sources. However, this information does not translate into prioritising actions on the ground. Further, only 6 city plans - Amravati, Badlapur, Mumbai, Nashik, Pune and Solapur - of the 17 list financial requirements for all actions. Also, the CEEW-Urban Emissions analysis finds that despite a large number of non-attainment cities in Maharashtra, the clean air plans in the state are distinct unlike many other states across India. But, the absence of sectoral emission reduction targets, city-specific priorities, and a standard protocol for air pollution reporting progress on actions across sectors, could derail implementation of the plans in the state.

The CEEW-Urban Emissions analysis, based on a recent study, evaluated the robustness of the 102 approved city action plans across India, including that of Nagpur, Chandrapur and 15 other cities in Maharashtra.

Methodology

The CEEW-Urban Emissions study established the key components of a clean air plan based on an extensive review of global literature. It assessed the 102 Indian plans for the presence or absence of elements such as a legal framework, source information, responsibility delineation, and the cost-effectiveness of proposed solutions. Further, descriptive statistics were used to explain and compare the plans across states and analyse the state-level variations in approaches towards clean air planning.

Contact Riddhima Sethi (CEEW) - +91 9902039054 / riddhima.sethi@ceew.in
Mihir Shah (CEEW) - mihir.shah@ceew.in