Government of Delhi is soon to launch its first comprehensive, and
high-octane 'public programme' to help clean up Delhi's extremely toxic air
that-as per a global study-kills 80 people a day.
"Arvind Kejriwal has
clearly told officials that air pollution is Delhi's biggest problem. Citizens
will be part of this initiative which will have high-impact awareness drives,"
a top government official told.
The environment department has submitted its action plan with two
components - long-term and short-term strategies.
The plan looks at greater pollution monitoring, more efficient pollution
checks for vehicles and shutting down of polluting industries. The focus is on
getting more buses, enforcing a complete ban on burning of leaves, agriculture
waste and polluting vehicles and checking dust pollution from construction
Part of the Rs 526-crore budget set aside for the government's publicity
that resulted in criticism from various quarters will be used on measures such
as media advertisements and hoardings to persuade people into taking up green
Kejriwal has told all officials supervising the planning and execution
of infrastructure projects that they would get a hurdle-free atmosphere,
provided green concerns are adequately addressed.
More and more people in the Capital can be seen wearing white surgical
masks and installing air purifiers with Delhi's air having turned the dirtiest
in all global cities, according to a WHO study, resulting in the rise of asthma
and cases of other related ailments.
A Delhi government report says air pollution has, in the last 14 years,
doubled in the Capital. The quantum of particulate matter 10 (particles smaller
than 10 microns in diameter that lodge deep in the lungs and blood cells) has
gone up from 150 microgram per cubic meter in 2001 to 318 in 2014.
The current PM 10 levels is seven times higher than what is safe (60
microgram per cubic meter). "Some of the measures we need to take over the
next months to counter the notorious winter pollution. We also have a one-year
plan ready. We will be working closely with other NCR towns for better results.
We're in touch with the Union ministry of environment and forests for effective
inter-state compliance," said a Delhi government official.
The National Green Tribunal which last year ordered all old, polluting
vehicles off Delhi roads has held several times that the Capital's air remains
'highly polluted', dangerous to human health and environment, and drastic
measures are needed to protect residents against health hazards. The NGT has
stayed the ban till arguments from government and other agencies are heard.
"The growth in vehicular population cannot be curbed without
scaling up public transport. We need to dis-incentivise diesel (the most