Air, water, and land are three important aspects that need to be conserved for life to sustain on Earth. Union Minister of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav on Tuesday, September 7, launched PRANA. PRANA meaning ‘Life’ in Sanskrit, is a portal for regulation of air pollution in 132 cities across the country.
The Union Minister also dedicated the first functional smog tower of India, installed in Anand Vihar in New Delhi to the country. Addressing the event, the Union Environment Minister stressed that technological solutions are important tools for air quality management in the short and medium-term. He asked stakeholders to contribute to achieving cleaner air and healthier lives for all.
The air pollution portal: PRANA
PRANA or the Portal for Regulation of Air-pollution in Non-Attainment cities under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) would support tracking of the physical and financial status of city air action plan implementation. It would also disseminate information on air quality to the public while also providing comprehensive information related to NCAP programme details, progress, city action plans, implementation updates by city/state/ national level agencies, air quality data, and trends, etc.
The portal (prana.cpcb.gov.in) has a national dashboard that has interactive points on 7 thematic areas of city air action plans, PM10 performance, ambient air monitoring network, public grievance redressal portal, graded response action plans, and more. It is intertwined with the Government’s goal for sustainable utilization, protection, and conservation of public goods and the environment.
On the occasion of the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies, the Union Minister inaugurated the first functional smog tower in Delhi. The pilot smog tower project is expected to yield results and supplement air quality improvement efforts.
A smog tower is a structure designed as a large/ medium scale air purifiers to reduce air pollution, usually by forcing the air through filters.
The installed smog tower has a height of over 20m, is of downdraft type, i.e. polluted air comes in from the top of the tower and clean air comes out of the bottom is intended for a localized reduction in air pollution (particulate matter).
The filtration system used in the tower has been designed by the University of Minnesota with an expected efficiency of 90%. 40 fan units have been installed to provide a design airflow rate of 1000 m3/sec. The tower has been built by Tata Projects Limited with NBCC (India) Ltd. as the project management consultant.
104 Cities showed air quality improvement
The Central Government has launched several initiatives to improve air quality in the entire country. The Prime Minister set a goal for holistic improvement in air quality in more than 100 cities.
In 2020, 104 cities showed better air quality. This increased from 86 cities in 2019 in comparison to 2018, the Union Environment Minister informed.
List & Status of cities also released
City-specific action plans for improving air quality for 132 Non-attainment cities (NACs)/Million Plus Cities (MPC) targeting city-specific air polluting sources (soil & road dust, vehicles, domestic fuel, MSW burning, construction material, and Industries) have been prepared and are being implemented.
So far, 375.44 crores have been released to 114 cities during FY 2019-20 & 2020-21 for initiating actions under the city action plan. Further, Rs 4,400 cores have been released to 42 cities with a million-plus population as per recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission report for FY 2020-21. This is in addition to funds available through various Central and State government schemes.
National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)
National Clean Air Programme, a mid-term, five-year action plan was launched in 2019 by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. This comprehensive initiative, in partnership with various Ministries and States, aims to improve air quality at the city, regional and national levels and is a focused and time-bound effort to implement various sectoral policies, strengthen monitoring and enhance public participation in more than 100 cities for effective air quality management.
NCAP aims to achieve a tentative national level target of a 20%–30% reduction of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) concentration by 2024 across the country. Further, it aims to implement measures for the prevention, control, and abatement of air pollution. It also aims to provide reliable data and create public awareness and capacity-building for inclusive public participation for improving air quality.