13 times increase in green cover of Delhi
New Delhi, Jun 5 (UNI) Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today planted saplings in a plantation drive organised on the occasion of World Environment Day by Delhi government's Department of Environment and Forest at Central Ridge here.
Speaking on this occasion, Ms Dikshit exhorted people to make concerted efforts in expanding green cover in Delhi. She also called upon people to concentrate on improvement in survival rate of saplings by properly looking after plants daily.
The chief minister requested all Delhiites to imbibe habit of presenting saplings as gift to all friends and relatives. She added that the green cover of Delhi had gone up by 13 times during the last eight years. It was 26 sq km in year 1997 which wass now estimated to be around 330 sq km. It was 268 sq km in the year 2003 as per the State Forest Report.
Around 19 per cent of the total geographical area of Delhi was under green cover. The target of tree sapling plantation for 2006-07 was 16.17 lakh, she said and added that that from 1999-2000 till date a total of 74.16 lakh saplings had been planted through various agencies, departments and other stakeholders.
Delhi government had been distributing free saplings from the government nurseries and selected petrol pumps.
Ms Dikshit added that with expansion of green cover in Delhi a significant reduction in pollution level had been witnessed. The concentration of sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide had fallen by 50 per cent and 46 per cent respectively as compared to 1997.
The Delhi government has also been taking appropriate steps for the implementation of the various environment related acts/rules in Delhi for overall upgradation of the city's environment.
The chief minister commended the role of students in making successful various programmes relating to greening of Delhi.
Involvement of school children in Environmental Awareness Program had been ensured by establishing Eco-clubs in schools and colleges of Delhi.
So far, about 1600 Eco-clubs have been set up in various schools and colleges of Delhi.
State Minister of Environment and Forest Raj Kumar Chauhan along with various stakeholders namely NGOs, corporate, school children and officials from government departments also planted about 300 saplings in the Central Ridge.
On the occasion of World Environment Day, the Department of Environment also organised a function at Dilli Haat in the evening where Ms Dikshit released a book 'Towards Greener Delhi'.
This book was a compilation of greening activities of Delhi being carried out during past eight years.
She also released a CD on PET Bottle Recycling, which explained the proper segregation of PET Bottle (used for packaging of aerated drinks and mineral water) collection and recycling.
Mr Chauhan also released a book 'Greening Delhi Action Plan 2006-07', which had been prepared by the Environment and Forest Department to undertake afforestation programme in cooperation with various government agencies and civil society groups.
An exhibition of eco-friendly products organised at Dilli Haat was also opened by Ms Dikshit.
This exhibition would remain open till June 7. More than 20 stalls of environment-friendly products/activities had been put up by the various organisations.
UNI IP RL HT2107