Our report will open talks on need for better clean action plan: Greenpeace

Downplaying Greenpeace India's recent report which said India overtook China's air pollution levels in 2015, the Centre Tuesday said the study was based on "extrapolated and constructed" data "without" field validation.

PTI| Last Updated: Mar 16, 2016, 00:26 AM IST

New Delhi: Even as the government downplayed Greenpeace India's report where it said India had overtaken China's air pollution levels in 2015, the NGO Tuesday said a discussion on it would reinforce the call for a comprehensive National Air Quality Index (NAQI) and clean air action plan.

"We welcome the fact that Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, in his response to a question, has opened a discussion on our recent report and brought this to the attention of the Lok Sabha.

"It re-emphasises the need to launch a truly comprehensive NAQI system and a Clean Air Action Plan for the country, as thousands of our supporters have been demanding through our Clean Air Nation campaign," said Sunil Dahiya, Campaigner, Greenpeace India.

Downplaying Greenpeace India's recent report which said India overtook China's air pollution levels in 2015, the Centre Tuesday said the study was based on "extrapolated and constructed" data "without" field validation.

"Greenpeace India published a report titled 'Clean Air Action Plan: The Way Forward' in February 2016. The report... is on the basis of NASA satellite data which is based on extrapolated and constructed data without field validation," Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said in a written reply in Lok Sabha.

Greenpeace called for an ambitious and systematic Clean Air action plan with focused targets, clear timelines and demonstrable accountability towards public health along with public data sharing for 254 cities as mentioned by Environment minister.

The right combination of policies including power generation, industry, transport and agriculture can help India take major strides towards resolving this slow-burning disaster, the NGO said.

"This crisis is an opportunity to test India?s emergency response plan, and we hope the Environment Minister will continue today?s discussion and lead us towards a focussed, coordinated Clean Air Nation Action Plan," Dahiya said.

Greenpeace's analysis said India had overtaken China's air pollution levels in 2015 and its average particulate matter exposure was higher for the first time in the 21st century.

"China's strong measures to curb pollution have contributed to the biggest year-on-year air quality improvement on record while in contrast, India's pollution levels continued a decade-long increase to reach the highest level on record," it had said.

The Greenpeace analysis is based on NASA satellite images processed for Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) and the purpose behind releasing this data was to highlight how, in the absence of public data on PM2.5 levels, an analysis of this AOD provides the only viable option to effectively highlight trends in PM2.5 levels, the NGO said.