The Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday addressed a press conference in Delhi. CM Kejriwal spoke about the rising pollution issues in the national capital. He also mentioned that the pollution in the city has reduced by 25 per cent. He also thanked the people of Delhi for their cooperation and efforts with the government to curb pollution.
Addressing the press conference Kejriwal said, "This year, the pollution was in control. First of all, the pollution has stopped increasing and pollution has been reduced by 25%. It is a big deal for us. People must understand that pollution is a very complex issue. Pollution cannot be contained just by one government or one organisation. Pollution can only be controlled when all work together to curb it. I am happy that all government and organisation has worked towards containing the pollution in Delhi."
"The Centre created the east-west peripheral highway, the Nagar Nigam used their own ways to fight pollution by raiding construction sites... The Delhi government has also taken a lot of effort to curb pollution from time to time... I give all credits to the people of Delhi for welcoming the governments' initiatives and taking part in them to fight pollution," he added.
Speaking about the current situation Kejriwal said, "Now the situation is critical. The smoke from the burnt farm is reaching Delhi. The air quality is decreasing... This issue is of greater concern for us. I want to appeal to all the government and authorities with folded hands that we must do whatever we could to reduce this smoke."
"To stop the use of crackers Diwali will be celebrated in Connaught Place for four days from October 26. People can come along with their families and celebrate the festival. The government has also arranged laser shows. Masks are also being sent to the families," he added.
Earlier on Friday, the national capital's air quality remained "poor" and is expected to slip into the "very poor" category by Sunday, officials said. The overall air quality index (AQI) of Delhi was recorded at 208, which falls in the "poor" category. The city experienced poor air quality for the first time this season on Thursday, the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) said.
Talking about the various initiatives taken by the Delhi government to curb pollution Kejriwal said, "The biggest effort taken by the government will be the Odd-Even rule from November 4 to November 15 in Delhi. In this rule, some categories have been given an exemption. The government is still in discussion on these exemptions. The two final exemption, for now, is for women. The first one is if a woman is driving alone or accompanied by other women that car will get exempted. Secondly, if a woman is driving a car accompanied by a child be it male/female less than 12-year-old will be exempted."
Apart from the implementation of the Odd-Even scheme, Kejriwal also announced a list of measures to fight pollution in the national capital. He said that Delhi will celebrate a Pollution-free Diwali without the burning of crackers.
A massive laser show on Choti Diwali will be held. Kejriwal added, "The laser show will have free entry so that everyone can celebrate Diwali together and we hope people won't use firecrackers after that." He also said that the government will procure masks for the public on a massive scale and that they will be made available to the public, free of cost.
His action plan also includes a dedicated helpline that will also be set up which will help people plant more trees, identification of 12 hotspots in Delhi which are categorised as heavily polluted areas and mechanised sweeping.