New Delhi, Mar 17 (PTI) Air pollution in the national capital has reduced by 15 per cent over the years due to the efforts of the Aam Aadmi Party government and 'it is now up to the Centre to do its bit', said Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Wednesday.
The minister's statement came a day after Delhi was ranked the world's most polluted capital city for the third year on the trot by a Swiss group that measures air quality levels based on the concentration of lung-damaging fine particles known as PM2.5.
'The Delhi government has consistently shown its administrative will to reduce air pollution in the city, due to which it has reduced by 15 per cent,' a statement quoted the minister as saying.
'Of the top 10 polluted cities, nine are in Uttar Pradesh. Delhi used to be polluted, but the condition is improving slowly... The reason for this reduction is the consistent and diligent efforts of the Arvind Kejriwal government,' he said.
He said the AAP government brought important policies on fuel change, tree transplantation and electric vehicles, and installed smog guns in worse-affected areas.
Delhi is the first in the country to shut down its thermal power plants, Rai said.
The city government, in collaboration with the PUSA Institute, made bio-decomposers to eliminate stubble burning, worked on a war-footing to fight dust pollution, and launched Green Delhi application to help identify the problem areas in the city, he said.
'It is now up to the central government to do its bit,' the minister said.
He said the Centre's intention is clear, as it has done nothing to shut down polluting thermal power plants and brick kilns operating in neighbouring states.
'Governments must work together to come up with a viable, workable solution. The Delhi government had submitted a petition to the Commission for Air Quality Management to address stubble burning, but now with the commission having lapsed, the issue remains unaddressed,' Rai said.
The World Air Quality report by Swiss technology company IQAir, released on Tuesday, said 22 of the top 30 most polluted cities globally are in India.
The average concentration of PM 2.5 in Delhi in 2020 was 84.1 µg/m3, the highest among the capital cities of 92 countries mentioned in the report.
Delhi was followed by Dhaka in Bangladesh and Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia. Within South Asia, the Indian cities of Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr, Bisrakh, Jalalpur, Bhiwadi and Noida are the top five most polluted regional cities. PTI GVS NSD NSD