HYDERABAD: Unlike many other cities in the country where air pollution levels are soaring beyond prescribed standards, Hyderabad has an action plan in place for keeping air pollution levels under control. However, even though the action plan spells out a slew of measures, it is not based on targeted reduction of pollution levels in the air. State pollution control board officials lay the responsibility of it on central government.
There are almost 32 measures mentioned in the city action plan for Hyderabad to control pollution, like installation of remote sensor based PUC system, promoting battery operated vehicles, developing expressways/by-passes for avoiding congestion or taking action against polluting industrial units.
However, the action plan is not aimed at bringing down air pollution levels in the city to a certain target and within a set time frame.
When asked about lack of target-based approach in the city action plan, a senior TSPCB official said, “Just having a concept note on National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) will not help. Unless Central government comes out with a law, which gives out specific targets to be achieved by each city within a set time frame and also allocates funds for it, target-based pollution control cannot be done.”
The official further said, “Hyderabad’s air quality would have worsened but from 2003-2010, a city action plan was implemented. Now, we are implementing a new plan approved last year based on an air pollution source apportionment study done by CPCB in 2006, as per which vehicular emissions is the main cause of air pollution in Hyderabad.”
Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in 2016 had listed down 94 cities from across India, including Hyderabad and Nalgonda from Telangana, as non-attainment cities where air pollution levels, mostly Particulate Matter, were regularly higher than the prescribed standards between years 2011-15. These cities were told to develop a city action plan, focusing on the major sources of pollution, to tackle the issue of air pollution.
Recently released information by the CPCB to the NGO Greenpeace under RTI revealed that many cities are yet to submit their action plans to CPCB. Of the 13 cities in South India, only 3 have action plans in place. Last year Telangana State Pollution Control Board (TSPCB) developed the city action plan for Hyderabad, of which Express has a copy. CPCB raised no objection over the plan, which has been under implementation since then.
As per TSPCB officials, the air quality in Nalgonda has improved and there is no need for an action plan for the city, which they have informed to CPCB.