It took Beijing 15 years to reduce air pollution, but we will take less time to improve air quality in Delhi, Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar said in Lok Sabha on Friday.
Replying to a discussion on the subject of air pollution and climate change, Javadekar said, “We need people’s support, a mass movement. When each one of us will contribute to end the problem and the government will take all along, I believe, if it took Beijing 15 years to fight (air) pollution, we will defeat the pollution in less time.”
He was referring to air quality in the national capital. He also appealed to the public to plant at least seven trees to create an “oxygen bank”.
Javadekar expressed hope that India would lead the world in the field of climate change and get rid of pollution soon. He said that every year he invites street workers and people who clean roads to celebrate Diwali at his home. “They have told me that in comparison with previous years, only 20-30 per cent firecrackers were burst this year,” Javadekar said.
Earlier in the day, Pratima Mondal of TMC resumed the discussion on air pollution and climate change soon after question hour was over. The discussion was held under Rule 193.
“Air pollution has been recognised as the world’s largest single environmental health risk, and the average PM 2.5 in our air is equal to smoking seven cigarettes. This means that we have come to a point where, instead of feeding bottles, infants are made to smoke a pack of cigarettes through natural breathing process,” she said.
“There are equal number of non-smoker lung cancer patients as that of smoker patients. Vaping has been banned but our environment itself has become a vaping chamber. Numerous industries, transport, random burning of waste and road making process are the contributors to the natural vaping system.”
YSR Congress member Balli Durga Prasad Rao said the government should take up afforestation with the help of the state governments.
Participating in the debate, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, “Air quality in Delhi has gone above the danger level. It is really a matter of great concern. But it is not confined to Delhi alone. Since Delhi is the capital of our nation, the furore has been created. But silently across the nation, each and every second our future generations have been falling prey to pollution. In Delhi itself, 28 people are dying per day due to pollution.”
After the minister’s reply, members sought clarification on various issues. NCP member Supriya Sule asked about the accountability of campaign fund expenditure whereas Anupriya Patel of Apna Dal enquired about the target for reduction in particulate matter.
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