Union Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar on Sunday announced that 60-70 pollution-causing power plants would be identified and closed in the next two years as he discussed steps taken by the Narendra Modi government to tackle the pollution menace.
Launching a social media connection with people, he made the announcement in a question and answer session on Facebook Live.
The minister said that power plants of Badarpur and Sonipat in Delhi-NCR have already been shut down.
Javadekar said mainly 5-6 aspects contribute to the pollution — traffic, industry, garbage, dust, stubble burning and geographical factors.
Listing the steps taken by the Modi government, he said that the use of BS-VI fuel reduces pollution by 25-60 per cent, and a key step has been taken to promote BS-VI fuel at a cost of Rs 62,000 crore.
He also referred to the efforts to tackle the problem of pollution in the national capital through public transport services.
“In 2014, while 25-30 lakh people used to travel by Metro in Delhi and NCR, today 45-50 lakh people commute by Metro. This is a big achievement. The construction of Eastern-Western Peripheral Expressway has also taken care of around 60,000 pollution causing vehicles that used to pass through Delhi. Now, the metro and e-buses facilities are being increased in all cities.”
The Union Minister said during the Facebook Live interaction that in 2015, the Modi government launched the National Air Quality Index for the first time. From 2016, the monitoring of air quality began.
“In the year 2016, while there were 250 days of bad air, the count today has come down to 180.”
Javadekar said the cause of pollution in Delhi-NCR is also due to geographical factors.
“Due slow air-flow, the problem of pollution is more in Delhi. The pollution reduces whenever the wind blows,” he said.
He also said the Modi government also framed new rules for construction and demolition management in 2016 in Delhi to manage pollution.