Govt to plant roadside shrubs to combat air pollution: Gopal Rai

Govt to plant roadside shrubs to combat air pollution: Gopal Rai

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Wednesday said on the occasion of World Environment Day the Delhi government will launch a mega plantation drive.

He said this year the Delhi government will plant around 33 lakh saplings of trees and shrubs. He said in a bid to combat air pollution and bring down PM10 levels, the Delhi government will plant a large number of roadside shrubs.

Rai said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had given a guarantee before elections that they would plant 2 crore saplings in the next five years.

Following this, the Delhi government’s target is to plant 33 lakh saplings this year, which is nearly twice the target set by the Central government. He said beginning 5 June, in all the nurseries of the Delhi government, citizens will be able to take free saplings of medicinal plants to help boost their immunity to combat Covid-19.

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said: “In Delhi, during the coronavirus epidemic, several successful measures were taken by the government to tackle the oxygen crisis. Today, while coronavirus cases are rapidly falling, the one way to achieve a permanent solution for ensuring oxygen is large-scale afforestation. It is World Environment Day on 5th June, and the Delhi Government has decided to begin its afforestation programme. For the next one year, the government has decided to plant 33 lakh trees in Delhi. With regard to the problem of pollution in Delhi, PM10 plays an important role, which is produced by dust that rises on the sides of roads. For this, we’ll have small plants on the sides of roads, to control PM10.”

Rai said: “Every year, the Central government provides an afforestation target to states. Last time, this target was set at 15 lakh plants in Delhi. As per the promise made by Kejriwal, during the elections, it was promised to achieve the goal of planting 2 crore plants in the next 5 years to improve the environment. Keeping that goal in mind, we had surpassed the Central government’s goal, and set a target of planting 31 lakh trees last year. We are happy to report that we surpassed our own target and planted 32 lakh trees in the last year.”

He added: “This time, the Central government has set a goal of planting 18 lakh trees, and as per the guarantee made by Kejriwal, we have kept a goal of planting 33 lakh trees, which we will symbolically initiate on 5 June, given the city is under partial lockdown. In the upcoming days, this programme will be operational on a larger scale.”

He added: “Building our immune system is extremely important to combat coronavirus, which is why, last year, based on the Forest Department, we had begun the initiative of planting medicinal plants and herbs that increase immunity. For instance, Amla, Neem, Jamun, Guava, Sehjan, Bel Patta, Nimboo, Tulsi, Aloevera, Giloy. In Delhi, these plants are given free of cost by the governmental nurseries.

“This year too, we will initiate the same wherein beginning 5 June, we will plant immunity-boosting herbs and medicinal plants. It is my appeal to the people of Delhi that they should take these plants from the governmental nurseries and plant them. These do not need a lot of space and you can plant them in the pots at your homes and increase our immunity levels by consuming them.”

He said: “Under last year’s initiative, people took 6,60,000 plants from governmental nurseries and planted them in their homes. I appeal to the people of Delhi to make this initiative even more successful by active participation so that we can improve our immunity system through natural means. Along with this, the tree plantation drive has been operational in Delhi. In 2017, Delhi’s Green Arena covered 299 kms, which increased to 325 kms, and we are hopeful that this year’s tree plantation program will further increase this to an area of about 350kms.

“This will certainly help to bring down Delhi’s pollution levels. I believe that all of us will work together in this tree plantation campaign and reduce the pollution levels in Delhi, and be able to improve the immunity levels of the people of Delhi by planting medicinal and herbal plants.”