Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday launched a mega anti-air pollution campaign, saying polluted air can be life threatening in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the campaign "Yudh Pradushan ke Virudh", separate plans have been prepared for each of the 13 pollution hotspots in the city, Mr Kejriwal said during a digital press conference.
"Polluted air can be life threatening in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both affect lungs," he said.
Mr Kejriwal said a "war room" is being set up to monitor all anti-pollution measures being taken by his government.
The government is also preparing a "Green Delhi" mobile application, he said.
"Using it, people can bring pollution causing activities, such as garbage burning or industrial pollution, to our notice. There will be a deadline to address complaints. I will get a daily report about resolved and pending grievances," the chief minister said.
"In the last five years, Delhi's pollution reduced by 25 percent. We have to reduce it further for our families and our children, especially during COVID times, since our lungs are the worst affected due to Corona and pollution can worsen the situation further," he said.
Mr Kejriwal has also issued directions to departments concerned to fill potholes to reduce dust emissions, which, he said, is a major contributor to air pollution in the city.
Launching the anti-pollution campaign for a clean and green Delhi | LIVE https://t.co/A3AJOISyf3- Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) October 5, 2020
"Our teams will inspect construction sites across Delhi and impose heavy fines or challans if they are found not following the anti-pollution measures. Mechanical sweepers will be used intensively by MCDs across Delhi to ensure no pollution due to road dust. Anti-smog guns have also been installed across Delhi to reduce the impact of pollution," he said.
The chief minister said one of the major reasons for high levels of pollution in Delhi and nearby areas is stubble burning.
"Scientists at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute here have found an economical way to deal with the problem. They have prepared a solution which can turn stubble into manure," he said.
"We are going to prepare this solution at a large scale from Tuesday under the supervision of experts from the institute. This solution will be used in Delhi this year. Next year, we will urge other states to use it," Mr Kejriwal said.
He also said that 11 thermal power plants within 300 km of Delhi have missed the December 2019 deadline to meet new emission norms. "We shut down our two thermal power plants. These 11 plants need to reduce their emissions," Mr Kejriwal said.
The chief minister said that action is also needed against a large number of brick kilns using outdated technology in nearby areas.
Subsidy on the adoption of electric vehicles has already been announced, he said.
Mr Kejriwal also appealed to the states neighbouring Delhi to take measures to tackle stubble burning by providing alternatives to farmers.
"I have spoken to many farmers in Punjab, they are very troubled due to pollution. But they do not have a choice and need support from government," he said.