Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: EPCA, GRAP, etc.
Mains level: The newscard discusses seriousness of the NGT and government in countering issues related to the Air Pollution(briefly).
Various actions taken by India on Pollution front
- The past year began with a plan by the Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA) promising a departure from the knee-jerk methods of countering pollution
- The Supreme Court mandated agency’s Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) envisaged taking progressive steps before waiting for a red alert to be sounded
- Also, two another graded action plans by the NGT, and a draft report of a high-level task force headed by principal secretary to the prime minister, are proof that policymakers seem to have learnt a lesson
Particulars of the action plans(mentioned above)
- The NGT and high-level task force show an inclination to engage with an aspect largely neglected in the official discourse on pollution — public transport
- The task-force talks of integrating ticket services across DTC, cluster buses and the Metro
What went wrong?
- The Metro’s daily ridership has come down by three lakh after fares were increased in October
- The loss of commuters will seriously undermine the Metro’s role as a pollution-reducing agent
- Environmental agencies cannot wash their hands off the issue
Some issues with the diktats issued by the NGT
- NGT talks of prohibiting construction activity during a pollution crisis, even though the green court has itself admitted that such strictures have “remained unexecuted” in the past
- The plan(discussed above) also talks about the odd-even scheme, without mentioning the contention between the Delhi government and the NGT
- These contentions came in the way of the scheme being implemented last year
The way forward
- It’s a shame that the glitches that have prevented odd-even from being a permanent pollution control fixture have not been sorted out
- Apart from fresh ideas, dealing with pollution also requires course correction