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Lockdown: Air gets cleaner as most of 2024 target met


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NEW DELHI:  A positive spin-off from the curbs imposed on several activities following lockdowns has been on the quality of air we breathe. The 4 metropolitan cities of the country recorded achieving 95 per cent of their 2024 National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) targets in just 74 days, said a report. Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru managed to better their 2024 NCAP target by around 30 per cent, with Kolkata bettering its target by over 50 per cent, according to a report by researchers from Respirer Living Sciences and Carbon Copy.

The researchers analysed the average air quality during the four lockdown phases as well as concentrations during individual phases for four cities for PM2.5, PM10, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone and benzene. Dr Sagnik Dey from IIT-Delhi explained that out of the eight primary polluting sources, four were completely closed during the lockdown — construction and industrial activity, brick kilns and vehicles.

The data was sourced from air quality monitors set up by state pollution control boards. The NCAP was notified in 2019 and sought reduction in particulate matter (breathable pollutants that can cause ailments) by 20-30 per cent by 2024. “This period is a marker for policymakers on how they can achieve what has been planned for next four years, in a shorter period,” said Ronak Sutaria, CEO, Respirer Living Sciences.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)