Delhi’s Environment Minister Gopal Rai presents two reports to substantiate claim.
New Delhi: Delhi’s Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Tuesday announced that the Kejriwal-led government has been successful in curbing pollution in the national capital. Rai presented two reports to substantiate the claim. According to a report by Iqair.com, a Switzerland-based organization, Delhi has dropped down to the 10th spot among the polluted cities in the world.
Another report by the Centre of Science and Environment (CSE) reveals that Delhi’s PM 2.5 has decreased at the rate of 25% between 2018 and 2020. The report also revealed that Delhi is the first state in India to have shut down the power plants which emit harmful gases and also the first state to have 39 Air Quality Monitoring Systems.
The BJP and Congress units have constantly criticized the Kejriwal-led government for not taking Delhi’s pollution and its impact on the people seriously.
“BJP is in Opposition and it’s their job to criticize. We are talking about the reports of the independent organizations. These outcomes are coming because we are constantly working towards them. Whether it’s the initiative on stubble issue or turning off vehicles during red light, we are constantly working. The Delhi government has also made it mandatory that anti-smoke guns should be installed in all construction sites more than 20,000 sq ft. You can see that we have started working on this in March. Generally, governments talk about this after September. Delhi government is working on long-term plans too. We are also working on switching at least 25% of vehicles to e-vehicles. EV policy is one of the major steps launched by the Delhi government. Earlier, Delhi used to be the second or third polluted city in the world; now it’s on the 10th rank. Almost eight polluted cities are from Uttar Pradesh. The most unfortunate thing is if the nearby states are polluted, it has a direct impact on Delhi because of wind directions. Despite all the politics and criticism, we are constantly working,” an official from Delhi’s Environment Department said.
While addressing the press conference, the Delhi Cabinet Minister also highlighted several other firsts that Delhi has achieved in terms of curbing environmental pollution like the Green-Delhi App, Transportation policy, Expansion of Green belt, and the EV Policy. The CSE report also reveals that Delhi’s pollution has decreased by 15%, Gopal Rai said.
Underlining the five major points mentioned in the report by the Centre for Science and Environment, the minister said, “First, the report highlights that Delhi is the first state to have shut down those power plants which emit harmful gases. Despite Supreme Court’s rulings, 12 such plants are operational in the neighbouring areas of Delhi, and the Central government hasn’t done anything in this regard. I have been requesting them for the past six months. The second one being, Delhi is the first state to have initiated 13 hotspots which initiate measures at the micro-level to curb pollution, right from dust particles to expansion of the green-belt. The third one, Delhi is the first state to have provided PNG Gas at subsidized rates to its industrial sector. The fourth one is, Delhi is the first state to have installed 39 Air Quality Monitoring Systems which analyze and take concrete steps to decrease the AQI index. A lot of other neighbouring states which have these systems do not work effectively, leading to increased air pollution. The fifth one is, the EV policy launched by the Delhi government and its constant efforts to enforce it will help in curbing air pollution.”
Rai said that Delhi provides 24×7 electricity to its citizens, which has been a helpful measure in controlling pollution. “War rooms which are set up to control pollution, are operational 24 hours, seven days of the week. It has Green Marshals who monitor on-ground realities. The Green Delhi App helped us in analyzing efforts to manage the AQ Index round-the-clock. The war room received as many as 20,000 complaints, of which 93% have been resolved,” the Environment Minister said.
“Delhi is the first state to have launched the Tree Transplantation Policy, which is inclusive of afforestation measures. Moreover, we have made a policy in which 80% of the plants will be transplanted,” Rai added.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government will conduct a round-table conference with environmental experts and various organizations on 12 and 13 April, to make a long-term action plan to combat air pollution in the national capital.