Javadekar pitches for urban forests to tacke pollution

 Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar speaks in the Rajya Sabha during the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament. PTI

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday pitched for raising urban forests as a counter to growing pollution even as he claimed that “good” and “moderate” air quality days in the national capital had improved over the past three years.

Responding to a calling attention motion on dangerous levels of air pollution in the country, particularly in Delhi, Javadekar cited his experiment in Pune of creating an urban forest that would act as “green lungs” of any growing city.

“The Centre had identified 200 cities and told the civic corporations there that we would give the money for the creation of urban forests,” the minister said.

Javadekar also listed out steps taken to control pollution from construction sites, emissions from vehicles, disposal of waste and expressed confidence that the government would be able to find a lasting solution to tackling pollution within the next 15 years.

The minister said that there has been an overall improvement in the air quality of Delhi in 2019 (from January-November 19) successively from 2016.

The numbers of 'good', 'satisfactory' and 'moderate' days has increased to 159 in 2018 as compared to 152 in 2017 and 106 in 2016, while the number of 'poor', 'very poor' and 'severe' days has reduced to 206 in 2018 compared to 213 in 2017 and 246 in 2016.

“In Delhi, reduction in PM 2.5 levels in 2018 is 7.3% over 2017 and 14.8% over 2016. In Delhi, reduction in PM10 levels in 2018 is 8.6% over 2017 and 16.5% over 2016,” the minister said.

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