The Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change, Govt. of India conferred “Swachh Vayu Sarvekshan 2022 Award” to Sundernagar and Nalagarh towns of the State for achieving second and third rank respectively at national level under National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). The cash award of Rs. 25.00 lakhs and 12.50 lakhs respectively were awarded for both these towns by His Excellency Prof. Ganeshi Lal, Hon’ble Governor of Odisha and Bhupendra Yadav, Hon’ble Union Minister, Environment Forest & Climate Change, Govt. of India today in an International Conference Vayu held at Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Dr Manoj Chauhan, Chief Scientific Officer of Himachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board has received the award on behalf of the State.

Apoorv Devgan (IAS) Member Secretary, Himachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board said that the problem to tackle beforehand was higher concentration of PM10 in the ambient environment which has led to categorization of these cities/towns under the category of Non-Attainment. The State has adopted multi-pronged strategy by involving all stakeholder Departments and prepared Action Plan for mitigation of air pollution in all Non-Attainment Cities/Towns NAC/T(s) of the State. The State Board has upgraded the air monitoring capability in all the NAC/T(s).  Further effective periodic review of implementation of Action Plan by the Air Quality Monitoring Committee (AQMC) headed by Addl. Chief Secretary (Env. Science & Technology) to the GoHP and efforts of the State Pollution Control Board as well as city level implementation committee headed by the respective District Magistrates have succeeded in reduction of more than 40% PM10 concentration in the ambient environment. Improvement in air quality in the State is not limited to NAC/T(s) but overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of the State has also improved from 81 during the base year 2017 to 61 during 2021-22, which is attributed to effective enforcement of pollution control and environmental laws by the State Board across the State.

We are hopeful that all seven towns of the State would come out of categorization under NAC/T(s) for which continuous and persisted efforts shall have to be maintained by all stakeholder Departments. The State Board also acknowledge the financial assistance rendered by the Central Pollution Control Board and MoEF&CC GOI under National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) through which various activities for mitigation of air pollution were implemented in all NAC/T(s) of the State. The Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) launched National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) in 2018 for containment of air quality in 131 Non-Attainment Cities/ Towns in India. Various components of the Action plan for containment and abatement of Air Pollution were i.e. containment of vehicular emissions, suppression of Road Dust and other fugitive emissions, Control of Air pollution from Bio-Mass Burning, Construction and Demolition activities, Industrial Air Pollution etc.

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