Ministry of Environment Current Affairs

Environment ministry releases draft National Clean Air Programme

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has released draft of National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) proposing multiple strategies to reduce air pollution. It aims to tackle increasing air pollution problem across country in comprehensive manner. The goal of NCAP is to meet prescribed annual average ambient air quality standards at all locations in country in a stipulated time frame. However it does not mention of any specific target and time frame. Under NCAP, the MoEFCC plans to take host of measures to bring down air pollution.

Objectives of the NCAP

  • Augment and evolve effective and proficient ambient air quality monitoring network across country to ensure comprehensive and reliable database.
  • To have efficient data dissemination and public outreach mechanism for timely measures for prevention and mitigation of air pollution.
  • To have feasible management plan for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution.

Measures to be taken by MoEFCC under NCAP

Under proposed NCAP, the MoEFCC will augment air quality monitoring network, identification of alternative technology for real-time monitoring, set up of 10 city super network, indoor air pollution monitoring and management and air pollution health impact studies. Other measures under it also includes air quality forecasting system, issuance of notification on dust management, three-tier mechanism for review, assessment and inspection for implementation and national emission inventory.

Comment

Earlier Union Minister Harsh Vardhan had said that MoEFCC hopes to bring down air pollution in around 100 non-attainment cities by 35% in three years and 50% in five years. Non-attainment cities are those considered to have air quality worse than National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). However, NCAP released by MoECC has no reference to the target it internally conceived and publicly announced.

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Government launches Web Portal for obtaining CRZ Clearances

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has launched the web portal for obtaining Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances.

The portal is a web-based system for obtaining clearances required from the Ministry under the (CRZ) by the Project proponents for ease of doing business.

Key Facts 
  • The objectives of the web portal are (i) Enhance efficiency, transparency and accountability in the process of CRZ clearances (ii) Enhance responsiveness through workflows and availability of real-time information on the status of CRZ clearance proposals (iii) ease of business and convenience of citizens in accessing information and services; standardised procedures and processes across Central and State levels.
  • The user-friendly portal enables submission of applications for CRZ clearance in a single-window interface and facilitates quick flow of information related to CRZ clearances.
  • It will enable the project proponents and the concerned State/UT bodies like the State Coastal Zone Management Authorities (SCZMAs) and Town/ Municipal Planning agencies to track status of their proposals.
  • The system is based on web architecture, similar to the existing systems of the ministry for environmental and forest clearances.
About Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ)
  • CRZ is the zone along the coastal stretches of seas, bays, estuaries, creeks, rivers and backwaters along the coastline specially demarcated for regulated development activity.
  • The demarcated zone consists of coastal stretches influenced by tidal action (in the landward side) upto 500 metres from the High Tide Line (HTL) and the land between the Low Tide Line (LTL) and the HTL.
  • The regulations in this zone are governed by the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), 2011 issued under the under Section 3 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986.
  • In this zone, Government imposes restrictions on setting up and expansion of industries or other projects. It is mandatory for getting clearances from ministry and local authorities to start any development project in CRZ.

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