COVID-19: Delhi govt to run campaign to promote medicinal plants

New Delhi, Jun 5 (PTI) Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Friday said the Delhi government will run a special campaign to promote medicinal and herbal plants in the next one year in view of the coronavirus threat.

On World Environment Day, Chief Minister Arvind Kejrwal asked everyone to come together to build a city filled with clean air and pure water.

Elaborating about the campaign, Rai said these medicinal and herbal plants will be given free of cost at the forest department's nurseries in the city.

The plants include curry leaves, gooseberry, neem, bahera, jamun, guava, arjun, sahjan, wood apple and lemon, the minister said on World Environment Day.

'These plants help boost immunity which is crucial in view of the coronavirus outbreak. Anyone can get them for free from the forest department's nurseries. Pamphlets listing the benefits of the plants will also be given to people,' the minister said.

A campaign will be run to make people aware about the benefits of these plants, he said. The forest department has 14 nurseries with 14 lakh plants across the national capital.

Meanwhile, Kejriwal asked everyone to come together to build a city filled with clean air and pure water.

'The events of the last few months remind us that the environment around is delicately balanced. It takes very little for this balance to be destroyed.' 'Over the last few months, the people of Delhi have come forth hand in hand to fight COVID-19 and save thousands of lives. The work has been hard, the sacrifices have been many,' he said.

The fight to protect the environment will be much harder. And it will not be something that the people of Delhi or India can win alone, he said.

'But if we come together again, with a common purpose, we can once again achieve tremendous things. Together, let us build a city filled with clean air, pure water and happy, healthy people,' the chief minister said.

Rai also directed the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to conduct a detailed study on water and air pollution levels before, after and during the lockdown period.

The pollution control body has been asked to submit a report within 15 days. The findings of the study will be used for devising a pollution mitigation plan, the minister told PTI.

'The DPCC has been asked to conduct a study on water and air pollution levels during these three phases -- before, after and during the lockdown. Accordingly, measures will be taken to check pollution in the national capital,' Rai said.

According to a DPCC study conducted in the first phase of the lockdown, pollution in the Yamuna dipped by up to 30 per cent and the quality of waste water in drains improved by up to 80 per cent.

With very few vehicles on roads, and only essential commercial units functioning due to the coronavirus-forced lockdown, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had reported 46 per cent reduction in PM2.5 levels and 50 per cent depletion in PM10 concentrations in the national capital from March 25 to April 15 -- the first phase of the lockdown. PTI GVS TDS TDS