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Javadekar for creating urban forests; school students planting trees


New Delhi, Nov 21: Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday made a case for creating urban forests to provide lungs to cities gasping for clean air and introducing a programme in schools where students would grow and distribute plants.

Prakash Javadekar

"There is a need for urban forests. We need to plant trees. We have done that in Pune where the forest is spread over 70 acres. Today many people walk to the place everyday. That would be a big tourist attraction in coming days," he said while replying to a calling attention to the situation arising out of the dangerous level of air pollution in the country, particularly in Delhi.

The minister also told the House that the government has taken measures like crop residue and solar waste management, strict norms for construction and demolition activities, switching to BS VI emission as well fuel standards and norms for industrial pollution. He said that one size does not fit all as far curbing pollution is concerned in 122 cities identified by the government as every city has different geophysical factor.

Citing an example, he said the AQI level in Bengaluru was 40 while in some cities it would more than 300. "This is the case when all other factors of pollution like industrial, vehicular, construction and dust are common in all cities. Therefore we need different solutions for different cities."

Javadekar said if Beijing can reduce its pollution levels in 15 years, then we can also do that. He stressed that there would not be any switch on and off on pollution front as it is a "subject we have to work on continuously". He expressed dismay that courts had to tell a state to pay its share of funding for peripheral expressway around Delhi.

Summing up the discussion, Rajya Sabha Chariman M Venkaiah Naidu said, "Be part of the programme to reduce pollution... This is a serious issue and let's separate politics and pollution." The members who participated in the debate included Surendra Singh Nagar, Satyanarayan Jatiya, Ashok Bajpai and R K Sinha (all BJP), Vaiko (MDMK), and Mohd. Ali Khan (Congress).

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