Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Delhi lieutenant governor Anil Baijal Friday flagged off 16 mechanical road sweepers and 40 water tankers, in an attempt to reduce pollution levels in the national capital.
Speaking at an event in New Delhi, Puri noted that the Swachhta Campaign has become people’s movement, and everyone including lieutenant governor Baijal and the municipal corporations in Delhi are working hard to bring the campaign to fruition.
Baijal said that the ministry has become “liberal” in releasing funds to the municipal corporations after Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to prioritise the Swachhta Campaign.
How will the water tankers help
The water tankers will be helpful in curbing the spread of dust on roads, thus lowering the level of dust pollution. The equipment has been procured at a cost of Rs 300 crore.
Speaking at the flagging off ceremony, Baijal emphasized that cleanliness is not something that has to be maintained only for one day, one week, or one fortnight, but it should be undertaken every day.
“The best possible alternative to manage entire generated waste is recycling and better scientific means of waste management,” Baijal said, adding that it is expected that the total generation of waste could soon amount to 10,000 metric tonne per day, the Indian Express reported.
What is Delhi planning for the future
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation commissioner, Puneet Kumar Goel, announced that the civic body will soon be purchasing another six small mechanical road sweepers, four litter pickers, and 17 tractors with water tankers. The machinery will be purchased out of funds already allocated by the Union Development Ministry.
Delhi cabinet rolls out electric buses to fight pollution
In previous attempts to tackle pollution, the Delhi government, in July, approved the hiring of a consultant to run 1,000 electric buses to fight air pollution. Announcing the decision, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a tweet: “Cabinet approves hiring of consultant to run 1000 electric buses in Delhi. A big step in modernizing Delhi’s transport sector and reducing pollution,” Business Today reported.
The move came after the Supreme Court questioned the Kejriwal government over its proposal to procure low-floor electric buses and the necessary time to set up charging stations for the fleet. The apex court ordered the government to attempt using buses powered by hydrogen fuel cell since they are considered more cost-effective than electric buses.
Air pollution in Delhi
Pollution levels in Delhi and surrounding areas deteriorated further to extremely hazardous levels, and the national capital experienced its worst air quality in four years in June 2018.
Such poor air was noted as strong wind from arid regions in the west began showering dust particles over the capital, but the situation improved within a day.
The weather office said that northern India usually gets very dusty at this time of the year before monsoon rainfall can clear the air. However, this year’s pollution level has been the worst in four years.
The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology advised people to keep their windows shut, avoid ‘fresh air’ in air conditioning, avoid going for a walk outdoors, and refrain from burning anything including incense sticks.
Recent reports suggest that air quality has started to worsen again in the national capital with levels of particulate matter surpassing safe limits. This could be the beginning of a period of pollution that extends into winters and is regarded a public health hazard.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius.