In the second round of digital round table conference to tackle emerging environmental challenges mainly winter pollution, the Environment Minister Gopal Rai emphasised on public participation in creating awareness on pollution and other means/efforts.
“First, the Government will focus on changing the mindset and behaviour of people,” Rai said. “The Government will fight against air pollution as a mass movement,” he added.
Rai said, “Delhi Government has taken several steps to curb air pollution, and in particular dust pollution, and continues to come up with new schemes to battle the same. Since last October, our Government has focused on diverse steps to control vehicular pollution in the State, including launching the EV policy; increasing the number of public transport facilities; the red light on car off campaign; bio-decomposers to curb stubble burning; banning polluting industries and encouraging industries to shift to natural gas; tree transplantation policy to increase the city’s green cover; transplanting foreign kikar with indigenous plant species, et al.”
Rai said, “Pondering on environmental pollution in the winter months when the AQI is severe is not a solution. We therefore, require your support. A plan is needed that can work through the year, and in the coming days, we will come up with an action plan to further better Delhi’s AQI. Nobody knows until when the pandemic will rage, and it’s not feasible to wait for so long. We would like your suggestions to create a viable and effective plan for the city.”
Illustrating further, he said that Delhi government work will move at three levels -- the first is the policy level, and one that if designed, has a positive impact on our city. Second, at a technological level. For instance, the technologies that will be effective in curbing air pollution. While we have identified hotspots, it is still challenging to measure the timing, the rate, source and impact of pollution.
The Delhi government is working at a technological level to find appropriate tools to measure these indicators which would in turn help us devise the correct policy. The third is the effective use of agencies at our disposal. We had launched the Green Delhi App to register realtime complaints. Often when a crisis occurs, it is shuffled department to department because even officers incharge sometimes don’t know where their jurisdiction ends and the other’s begin. Delhi faces multiple challenges and if within these challenges we are able to deliver then that is a feat worth celebrating. The Delhi government, even in the face of adversities continues to stride forward. Last year during the anti-dust campaign, I went for field visits to construction sites. While we’re installing anti-smog guns at these big sites, it’s not limited to one site alone, but one that has contributors spread throughout the city. This is why we need the environment to become a people’s issue. People need to change.”
He said, “Within the constraints of the pandemic and restrictions on mass mobilisation, we need to create a mass movement. Our three-pronged approach needs to focus on policy, technology and making the environment a mass concern. People have the power. If the environment becomes a people’s concern then big milestones can be achieved.”