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IIT-G, PCBA join hands to tackle air pollution
PRANJAL BHUYAN
 GUWAHATI, Oct 31 - The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati and the Pollution Control Board Assam (PCBA) have joined hands to tackle the problem of air pollution in some major urban centres of the state, including Guwahati. The two have joined hands under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) launched by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

IIT-G and PCBA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recently in this regard. Under the project, IIT-G and PCBA will work together to deal with air pollution in Guwahati, Nagaon, Nalbari, Sivasagar and Silchar. In these urban centres, the particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) levels exceed the annual average ambient air quality standard of 60 microgram per cubic metre.

PCBA will work to prepare city-specific interventions and action plans with the target of reducing PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations by at least 20 to 30 per cent by 2024. IIT-G will act as the technical partner. The institute will assist PCBA in carrying out air pollution studies like identifying critical sources, building state-of-the-art air quality monitoring networks, and investigating mitigations in the five identified towns and cities and implementing them with the help of the Board.

Prof Sharad Gokhale of the Department of Civil Engineering of IIT-G said that the current levels of PM10 and PM2.5 in Guwahati and other cities and towns of Assam are alarming and show increasing trends.

“Asthmatic condition among children is on the rise. In light of this, the move of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is very welcome. NCAP will create more awareness among the public and help strengthen the capacity building activities to tackle particulate pollution in the selected cities of Assam,” he said.

“IIT Guwahati is committed to extending technical assistance to the PCBA in improving the air quality monitoring network and carrying out technical studies to develop a suitable city-wise air quality management plan, which we will convert into an implementable action plan for the selected cities of Assam,” Prof Gokhale added.

NCAP was launched in January this year as part of the government’s agenda to put in place a time-bound national level strategy for pan India implementation to tackle the increasing air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner. It is a mid-term, five-year action plan with 2019 as the first year.

The approach for NCAP includes collaborative, multi-scale and cross-sectoral coordination between the relevant Central ministries, state governments and local bodies.

NCAP’s objective is to have comprehensive mitigation actions for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution, besides augmenting the air quality monitoring network across the country and strengthening the awareness and capacity building activities.

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