During the 2020 Delhi Assembly election Arvind Kejirwal-led Aam Aadmi Party promised two-third reduction in Delhi’s pollution. While the lockdown from March 25 to combat the spread of Covid-19 resulted in some marked difference in the capital city’s pollution level, after unlocking, the air quality started worsening and in the last two weeks, it hovered between ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’ categories.
Here is what the AAP government has done so far to handle the air pollution challenge through their campaign ‘Yuddh Pradhushan Ke Virudh’ (war against pollution):
1. The Delhi government has launched a ‘Green War Room’ which will be the centre for collaboration of different agencies that will work together to tackle air pollution.
2. Arvind Kejriwal announced the launch of a mobile app called ‘Green Delhi’ in order to increase public participation and awareness.
3. Delhi Pollution Control Committee has banned electricity generator sets of all capacities (diesel, petrol, kerosene) from October 15, except for essential or emergency services. This comes under Graded Response Action Plan, a set of anti-pollution restrictions that include pre-emptive measures to stop the air quality from deteriorating to emergency levels.
4. The Delhi government will also be coordinating with the neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab in order to ensure that alternatives to stubble burning are found.
5. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is also focussing on increasing the green cover in Delhi with a plan called the ‘Tree Policy’, which will focus not only on preserving the existing tree cover but also on transplantation of new trees in order to increase the green cover.
6. To ensure strict adherence to the rules, the Delhi Government has decided to impose heavy fines on those who are found violating the anti-pollution guidelines.
7. Okhla Phase II, Dwarka, Ashok Vihar, Bawana, Narela, Mundka, Punjabi Bagh, Wazirpur, Rohini, Vivek Vihar, Anand Vihar, RK Puram and Jahangirpuri have been deemed as pollution hotspots by the Delhi government.
8. On Thursday, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday launched a new anti-pollution campaign under which people will be encouraged to switch off the engines of their vehicles while waiting at traffic signals.
People are advised to wear face masks as it helps to protects from Covid-19 and also reduces exposure to air pollution significantly. People must also avoid outdoor exercise during peak pollution hours and children and people aged over 60 must avoid venturing out. Patients with chronic lung diseases must take extra precautions during this time.