Prakash Javadekar calls for creation of urban forests to curb air pollution

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NEW DELHI, November 21: In his reply to the Rajya Sabha on issues raised regarding the alarmingly high levels of air pollution, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday stressed upon an urgent need for the creation of urban forests to tackle the problem of air pollution.
Javadekar said that it is important to understand when the wind moves at speed more than 20 kmph, the pollution levels in the air decreases. He pointed out that pollution in the Indo-Gangetic plain is higher than in other places since there are more moisture and dust in these regions. “That is why, in one part of the country the AQI is 40, and at some other part, it is as high as 350 on the same day,” the Environment Minister said.
Stressing upon the need of creating urban forests in cities which suffer from high levels of pollution, Javadekar said it will serve as the lungs of the cities. More and more trees must be planted, children in nursery schools must be taught the importance of planting trees, he said.
The environment minister proposed a Jan Andolan or large scale movement where the public takes the initiative to plant trees and students are encouraged in schools to plant saplings and take the responsibility to ensure that their plants grow into trees. He said that anti-firecracker campaign has finally shown its results after 10 years while adding that pollution can be tackled through public participation.
Javadekar further said the Jan Andolan should also include the pollution caused by traffic, which is both noise and air. He said that individuals have to fight the menace together by taking some basic steps such as using environment-friendly fuel and avoiding honking unnecessarily as part of conscious effort.
He cited the example of metro construction where cloth veils are used to ensure that dust pollution caused remains contained. (PTI)