The Delhi government and the Centre Saturday launched a joint campaign to combat air pollution in the capital. The 15-day ‘Clean Air for Delhi’ awareness campaign will see 70 teams of five members each — drawn from central and state pollution watchdogs, Delhi government, civic bodies and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) — fan out into every Assembly constituency. The teams will monitor sources of pollution and penalise polluters.
Speaking at the launch at the MoEFCC, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “It is time that both governments came together to fight the menace.” The campaign is a result of months of interaction between the two governments.
“But pollution cannot be solved in 15 days. There needs to be a concerted effort throughout the year. We need a round-the-year scientific study, machines that identify sources of pollution and improved road designs,” the CM said.
He also said permanent solutions are the need of the hour, and that even his government’s move to implement the odd-even vehicle rationing scheme wasn’t a permanent one.
Kejriwal said the AAP government has tasked the Public Works Department to plant shrubs and grass on either side of roads that fall under its jurisdiction and that budgetary allocation will be made for the purpose. “This year, we have a target of 500 km. We will move to other roads in the next two or three years,” he said, seeking the central government’s cooperation in the efforts.
Assuring this, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said the Centre, too, is concerned about pollution levels across the country. “We must take the example of this campaign to the entire nation. People must realise their green social responsibility. I hope that children present at the gathering and elsewhere will become ‘green sainiks’ in the fight against pollution,” he said.
“We kick off from Delhi, as it is the most widely discussed and, of course, the one with real problems,” the minister said. He added that the central government had already given its approval for the north-south and east-west elevated road corridors to help reduce traffic snarls in the city. The two ministers also launched a ‘clean air campaign’ app.