If the announced action plans become a reality, people of Agra and visitors to Taj Mahal may get see better surroundings by next World Environment Day! The Uttar Pradesh state government along with the UN Environment have rolled out an action plan which will now control – vehicle emissions, crop residue, garbage and municipal solid waste burning along with industrial emissions.
In order to cut vehicular emissions, Uttar Pradesh Government plans to roll out 650 electric buses, out of which more than 100 have already been procured. Various private sector players offered their support in combatting pollution on various fronts. To help deal with Agra’s mounting plastic waste, Massive Fund proposed a project of $30 million under the Alliance to End Plastic, to eliminate more than 90 per cent of plastic waste from Agra. Waste management firm Geocycle further proposed to pilot a technology to clean up the Yamuna river in Agra. Kanoria Industries plans to invest Rs 15 crore for sustainability related activities in the city.
“This action plan is a decisive step forward in systematically combatting air pollution. Preventive actions and local-scale compliance enforcement tools, uniquely designed as agreement between local government and private sector, could contribute significantly to successful implementation of the plan and sustainability in the long term.” said Atul Bagai, Head, UN Environment, India.
“The Agra Air Action Plan is a unique multi-stakeholder strategy for implementation of city level air pollution action. Addressing air pollution requires sector specific interventions in technology and behavioural change. A Guidance Framework has been developed which includes scientific assessment of sources and capacity building,” said Prarthana Borah, India Director, Clean Air Asia.
The Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change launched the National Clean Air Programme earlier this year to meet the prescribed annual average ambient air quality standards for 102 non-attainment Indian cities by 2025, Agra city is one of them. The Agra city action plan can guide other NCAP cities into devising strategies to combat air pollution and associated health risks.