Delhi govt to launch drive to plant 33 lakh saplings from Jun 5: Gopal Rai

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New Delhi, Jun 2 (PTI) The Delhi government will launch a drive from June 5 to plant 33 lakh saplings across the city to reduce air pollution, Environment Minister Gopal Rai said on Wednesday.

The city is under partial lockdown due to Covid. In the upcoming days, this programme will be operational on a larger scale, he said during a virtual press conference.

The minister said the government will plant a large number of shrubs on the roadsides to check road dust emissions.

“The central government had given us a target to plant 15 lakh saplings in the city last year. We planted 32 lakh saplings. This time, the Centre has given us a target of planting 18 lakh saplings,” he said.

Last year, the Delhi government's nurseries provided 6.60 lakh plants free to people, according to Rai.

“We had started distributing medicinal plants last year. This year, too, we will start the exercise from June 5. People can get medicinal plants for free from government-run nurseries which will help them increase their immunity, especially during the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.

In 2017, Delhi had a green cover of 299 square kilometers. It increased to 325 sq km in 2019.

“We are hopeful that this year’s plantation programme will further increase this to about 350 sq km. This will certainly help bring down Delhi’s pollution levels,” Rai said. PTI GVS RHL