Delhi Environment Minister, Gopal Rai, on Monday held a digital round table conference with experts focussed upon formulating measures to reduce the air pollution in Delhi.
The roundtable meeting is for two days and the theme is "Measures to be taken to reduce air pollution in Delhi before winter 2021". During the conference, Rai said that the Delhi government does not wish to wait till September when the air pollution increases in Delhi; with the help of the experts, we want to create a long-term action plan to combat air pollution throughout the year.
He said that based on the suggestions received from experts and organizations, the Delhi government will formulate a long-term action plan to tackle pollution.
He said that under the leadership of Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi government has taken several steps to combat air pollution wherein various reports have found significant improvement in Delhi’s air quality, but the government does not want to be satisfied with this much, and wants more improvement.
Rai said, "The Delhi government has taken up many initiatives to curb air pollution in the state, particularly dust pollution and continues to try and come up with new schemes for the same. Since last October the government has been undertaking regular campaigns. The government has undertaken many schemes to control vehicular pollution in the state including the electrical vehicles policy, increasing the number of public transport facilities particularly buses, campaigns like the red light on car off, bio-decomposer experiment to curb pollution coming from outside, banning energy-producing centres in Delhi that emitted pollution, and those that used harmful fuels have been asked to shift to natural gas, tree transplantation policy has been followed to increase green cover in the city, transplanting foreign kikar with indigenous plant species has also been undertaken and a committee has been formed to monitor the same."
He said, "We now want your assistance in this process that has been initiated, because talking about environmental pollution during the winter months, starting from October when the AQI is severe, is not a solution. We need to initiate action throughout the year. We are, in the next few days, going to come up with an action plan to further better the AQI of Delhi. We want the concern of the AQI and solutions to it to take the shape of a mass movement where the people of Delhi are involved. No one knows when the pandemic will continue to rage, therefore it isn't feasible for us to wait for so long."
Rai said, "We will have to parallely run environmental programmes to ensure that the AQI does not deteriorate any further. We want your suggestions, your feedback to create a positive, effective and popular environment plan for the city. We will continue this discussion tomorrow as well and move ahead in our agenda to create a sustainable and effective action plan."
He said, "I am very thankful to all for making the suggestions and presenting the ideas at this round table conference. I would request you all to submit these presentations to us so that we can study these matters thoroughly and formulate a long-term action plan to combat the air pollution of Delhi."
Anumita Roy Chowdhury, executive director, research and advocacy, Centre for science and environment, Dr Mukesh Sharma of IIT Kanpur, Gufran Beig of Indian Institute Of Tropical Meteorology, Deepak Agarwal of IL and FS, Partha Basu of the environmental defence fund, Siddharth Virmani of energy policy Institute at the University of Chicago, Brikesh Singh of Clean Your Collective and Akshima Ghare from Rocky Mountain Institute participated in the conference.