Addressing the media at the Delhi Secretariat, Gopal Rai said, “The environmental issues pertaining to Delhi have been a subject of constant deliberation and concern. When we formed the AAP government five years back, we have taken various measures to decrease pollution in the city. A lot of work has been done in this sector, as a result of which the Delhi government has been able to reduce around 25% of pollution levels in the city, along with the support of various agencies and the people of Delhi. During the Delhi Assembly elections, CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal Ji vowed 10 guarantees to the people of Delhi, a significant promise was decreasing the pollution levels in the city. One significant promise is to reduce the 1/3rd of pollution in Delhi, and another promise includes plantation of 2 crore trees in the city in the next five years.”
“I have been delegated the responsibility of handling the environment department in this tenure. I met with the environment department officials, DPCC scientists, forest department officials, to discuss the efforts taken by the Delhi government towards bettering the environment and the impact that it has created. In totality, along with analyzing a 25 % decrease in air pollution levels in Delhi, we have also analyzed and discussed the attributes of this decrease in air pollution,” said Gopal Rai.
Gopal Rai said that the implementation of the Odd-Even scheme has been a matter of friction since people believe that vehicular emissions do not constitute a major part of the air pollution levels in Delhi. He also said that people believe that the pollution from stubble burning during the last few months was not a major reason for the alarming levels of air pollution in Delhi.
He said, “Obtaining Real-Time Data is necessary to monitor the real sources of pollution at a particular point in time. Until we can gather information about the sources of pollution, we will not be able to devise any mechanism for reducing these sources. There are no generalized sources of this pollution, and so we cannot work on decreasing or eradicating this pollution in a generalized manner. We need to obtain Real-time Data to devise an action plan on how to reduce pollution levels.”
Gopal Rai informed the media that the Delhi government has tied up with Washington University for obtaining Real-Time Data on pollution. “They will release their final report in March this year, after which the Delhi government will be able to induct Real-Time Data to monitor the sources of pollution, and we will be able to measure our actions as well as the impact of these action plans,” he said.
Gopal Rai said that the data obtained from the pollution monitoring centers of the Delhi government show that the pollution levels in Delhi are decreasing significantly. He said, “We have 26 pollution monitoring centers of the Delhi government across various areas in Delhi, out of which six centers were established between 2017-2018, and 20 more were established between 2018-2019. Composition levels of various gases in the air are monitored in these centers. According to the data obtained in these monitoring centers, the average PM10 levels in Delhi were 324 µg/m³ in 2014, 295 µg/m³ in 2015, 303 µg/m³ in 2016, 277 µg/m³ in 2017, 277 µg/m³ in 2018, 230 µg/m³ in 2019. The average PM2.5 levels in Delhi were 149 µg/m³ in 2014, 133 µg/m³ in 2015, 137 µg/m³ in 2016, 130 µg/m³ in 2017, 128 µg/m³ in 2018 and 112 µg/m³ in 2019.”
The 13 hotspots in Delhi where the PM10 and PM2.5 concentration levels are generally higher are Jahangir Puri, Narela, Ashok Vihar, Vivek Vihar, Dwarka, Mundka, Rohini, Wazirpur, Okhla, Bawana, Anand Vihar, Punjabi Bagh, and RK Puram. Gopal Rai said that it has been observed that the PM10 levels and PM2.5 levels have significantly reduced in all 13 locations.
Another graph shows that the days with fewer pollution levels are increasing, and the days with severe pollution levels are decreasing in numbers.
Gopal Rai said, “Various measures inducted that have created an impact are the 24-hour power supply in Delhi, which has reduced the use of diesel generators. There has been a considerable increase in tree plantation and greenery, the construction of East-West Peripheral Highway by the central government, the Dilli Ki Diwali Campaign. The Odd-Even campaign of the Delhi government, on the other hand, has sensitized people and impacted their mindsets, which has motivated them to follow the Odd-Even regulations and make the campaign a success.”
“The Chief Minister met with all the ministers, secretaries and officials of all the departments yesterday regarding the 10-point agenda of the Delhi government, to develop an action plan of all the departments. For this, we believe that environmental solutions should be treated as a mass movement. It needs the participation of all to fabricate solutions to all the environmental solutions. Second, an action team must be formulated consisting of people from multiple agencies, because all agencies play an important role in this sector,” he said.
Delhi Environment Minister informed the media about the major decisions taken in his review meeting with the environment officials. He said, “We have taken four major decisions in this regard. Obtaining Real-Time Data is the first and foremost step in this direction. For that, I will be visiting the headquarters of Washington University near Major Dhyanchand Stadium in Delhi, along with the university scientist headquarter tomorrow at around 1PM to understand the process of obtaining real-time data. Second, STPs have been created by the Delhi Jal Board to detect and monitor the causes of pollution of the Yamuna river. I will also visit the STP plant setup in Delhi Gate to oversee the treatment process and its functioning.”
A Roundtable Conference will be held on 27th February in the Delhi Secretariat. He said, “Experts from various NGOs and engineers from various departments will be invited to the conference. We will also incorporate their suggestions in dealing with various pollution issues.”
“A joint meeting of all the agencies including MCDs, PWD, DDA, RWAs, etc will be held on 28th February, wherein discussions will be held on how to spearhead the Delhi government’s ambitious project of the plantation of around 40 lakh trees in the city. We have already completed the plantation of 25 lakh trees, which has resulted in around a 25 % increase in greenery in Delhi. We will also hold a meeting with the environment ministers of all the other states, especially Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Punjab to discuss various issues related to environmental pollution in Delhi/NCR,” said Mr. Gopal Rai.