To keep dust down, minister wants decongested roads, more trees

Deputy CM Sisodia says ‘unpopular’ decisions needed to repair Delhi’s air quality

Written by Aniruddha Ghosal | New Delhi | Updated: March 13, 2015 2:28:28 am
The government is looking to implement the National Green Tribunal’s directions to combat air pollution, such as its order to ban 15-year-old vehicles from Delhi roads. (Source: Express archive) The government is looking to implement the National Green Tribunal’s directions to combat air pollution, such as its order to ban 15-year-old vehicles from Delhi roads. (Source: Express archive)

Concerned with the increasing air pollution in the capital, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia admitted that the government would be taking some “unpopular decisions” in the future. Public Works Department minister Satyendra Jain also said PWD roads would be targeted to reduce congestion and dust as a part of the initiative against air pollution.

“We have to take hard and uncomfortable decisions to improve the air quality of the city. We need to preserve clean air for the next generation,” Sisodia said while speaking at the CII Delhi state annual session.

The government is already considering implementing the National Green Tribunal’s directions to combat air pollution, such as its order to ban 15-year-old vehicles from Delhi road.

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Meanwhile, sources indicate that the government is also considering steps such as heavy taxation of polluting vehicles, increasing parking tariffs etc.

“We are looking at some moves — both short and long term. Some of them, like restraining growth of vehicles or increasing parking fees, will not make people very happy. But it needs to be done,” a senior Delhi Pollution Control Committee official said.

Jain said vehicles account for 78 per cent of air pollution in Delhi. Of this, 38 per cent is due to dust.

Speaking to Newsline, Jain said, “Dust accounts for a section of air pollution. We’re looking to first decrease congestion on roads. If there is less congestion, automatically air pollution will also decrease. The second part of the project will look to decrease the amount of dust that is on the road. Dust never gets a chance to settle because of heavy movement.”

Jain said the PWD would repair roads to decrease congestion and then take steps to tackle the ‘dust problem’.

“We will plant grass where soil is loose and where there are dusty patches. The government will also look at mechanical cleaning of roads,” Jain said.

While Jain hopes that his initiative can bring down pollution by almost a quarter, the government is also looking to experts for help. Last month, Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) had released an action plan for the AAP government.

“We are likely to meet the government next week to look at measures that can be taken up urgently,” Anumita Roychoudhury of CSE said.
She is the only non-government member of the drafting committee for Delhi’s second generation air action plan.

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