NEW DELHI: The Delhi government on Monday said it has set a target to reduce air pollution in the city by two-thirds in the next five years and set aside Rs 30 crore in the 2020-21 budget to install smog towers across the national capital.
“Green Citizen Awards” will also be instituted to encourage citizens to contribute to environment protection and preservation work, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said while presenting the budget in Delhi Assembly on Monday.
“Keeping the air of Delhi clean and making it green is one of 10 guarantees of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Due to various efforts, air pollution was reduced by 25 per cent in the last five years. Our goal is to reduce it by two-thirds in the next five years,” said Sisodia, who also holds the finance portfolio.
“There is also a need to implement projects to establish smog towers to reduce pollution on a large scale. I propose an outlay of `30 crore under the Pollution Control and Environment Management scheme to control air pollution in Delhi,” the deputy CM said.
Experts have questioned the feasibility of smog towers, saying they are not suitable to the city’s meteorological conditions. Several environment experts had earlier written to the Supreme Court, requesting directions not to allow government agencies to install smog towers on grounds of ineffectiveness and calling them a “waste of public money”.
The government also proposed a new scheme, deployment of marshals, in the environment department with an outlay of Rs 2 crore for equipping the district administration with a dedicated workforce. It has allocated Rs 20 crore for carrying out intensive campaigns across Delhi to encourage public participation to protect the environment.He said the forest area and green cover in Delhi have increased from 299.77 sq km in 2015 to 324.44 sq km in 2019.
(With PTI inputs)