[op-ed snap] Hope for good air

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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).


News

Various actions taken by India on Pollution front

  1. 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
  2. The Supreme Court mandated agency’s Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) envisaged taking progressive steps before waiting for a red alert to be sounded
  3. 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)

  1. 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
  2. The task-force talks of integrating ticket services across DTC, cluster buses and the Metro

What went wrong?

  1. The Metro’s daily ridership has come down by three lakh after fares were increased in October
  2. The loss of commuters will seriously undermine the Metro’s role as a pollution-reducing agent
  3. Environmental agencies cannot wash their hands off the issue

Some issues with the diktats issued by the NGT

  1. 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
  2. The plan(discussed above) also talks about the odd-even scheme, without mentioning the contention between the Delhi government and the NGT
  3. These contentions came in the way of the scheme being implemented last year

The way forward

  1. It’s a shame that the glitches that have prevented odd-even from being a permanent pollution control fixture have not been sorted out
  2. Apart from fresh ideas, dealing with pollution also requires course correction
Air Pollution
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