New Delhi [India], Nov 22 (ANI): Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday expressed confidence that air pollution in the national capital will be reduced in lesser time than taken by China to address the problem of pollution in Beijing and called for the people's movement to deal with the problem.
Replying to debate over air pollution in the Lok Sabha, Javadekar said that a national knowledge network has been created and scientists meet daily to find new ways to deal with the problem of pollution.
The minister said that India will provide leadership on climate change and will be able to deal with the problem of pollution soon.
He said every individual has to make a contribution to combating pollution as part of the people's movement.
"The government will also take everyone along. I have confidence that if it took 15 years to tackle the problem of pollution in Beijing, we will do it in lesser time and do it collectively," he said.
He said that there is only one earth and resources are depleting.
Pointing to difference between climate change and air pollution, Javadekar said there has been excessive emission of carbon dioxide during the industralisation of the western world and this gas remains in the atmosphere for a very long time and impedes the flow of heat generated by the sun.
"This is leading to a rise in temperature of the earth," he said.
Javadekar said that in contrast, pollutants which cause air pollution disappear in a short time.
He said India is not responsible for climate change and its carbon emissions are far less than the developed world.
"We are not a cause of the problem, but ultimately we are suffering and everybody is suffering. So, as a responsible country, India has decided to become a part of the solution," he said.
The minister said that India was committed to increasing the share of renewable power in its energy mix to 40 per cent and has already scaled up the production target from 1,75,000 MW of renewable energy to 4,50,000 MW.
He said that India will also reduce its emission intensity by 35 per cent and steps have been taken in this direction.
Stressing on afforestation, he said trees absorb carbon and produce wood.
"In the coming 10 years, we will create forests on a large scale. We have the highest target in the world. The green cover has increased by 13,000 square kilometres in the last four years," he said.
The minister said that India has also announced that it will make 26 million hectare barren land green in the next 10 years.
Javadekar said he will visit Spain next month for CoP 25 and India's position is straight.
"India is doing what it had said and every country has to fulfil its promise made in the Paris Climate Agreement. The developing world should get finance, 100 billion dollars that were committed. Technology should be given at an affordable cost. If technology is not given, the change will not happen soon," he said.
Stressing on sustainable development, he cited the instance of Delhi metro and said both that "development and environment protection have to go hand-in-hand."
Javadekar said that five times more trees have been planted than the trees cut for the construction of the metro.
The minister said that the government has prepared the National Clean Air programme and released funds according to the needs of the cities to reduce the pollution level.
He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Air Quality Index in 2015 and devices for measuring air quality have been installed at 730 places in 344 cities.
Javadekar said that poor air quality of Delhi was also related to its geography and noted that Indo-Gangetic plain has the highest level of pollution.
"Because there is moisture from Ganga, from the Himalayas, there are cold winds or slow winds. Delhi is like a bowl. If the wind speed is 20 km, the air will get clean but if it is less than 20 km, the air stays there and that is the reason for more pollution," he said.
Reading from the report of a scientist, he said: "Meteorology plays a dominant role in Delhi's air quality and also other places' air quality. Ventilation Index defined as a product of wind speed and mixing height is a significant factor affecting air quality."
"Winters are dominated by cold dry air and ground-based inversions with low wind conditions which make the air stagnant and creates an unfavourable condition for dispersion," he said.
He said that air pollution is caused by industry, vehicles, dust and bio-mass and listed the steps taken by the government to address each aspect including the closure of coal-based power plant in the capital, expansion of metro network and construction of peripheral highways.
He urged the people to create their own oxygen bank by planting seven trees.
Javadekar said that they had started a school nursery programme and the child will take a sapling home when results are declared.
The minister said higher awareness had led to fewer bursting of crackers during Diwali. He also laid stress on using electric-vehicles.
The minister said that the Indian tradition teaches to live with nature and cited examples of clothes being dried in sun and not through an electric dryer and clothes of children being passed from generation to generation. (ANI)