Environment minister Gopal Rai said Delhi government had planted 32 lakh saplings in 2020-21 — 210% more than the target of 15.2 lakh— that has contributed in curbing air pollution and affected the environmental conditions positively.
Rai said the Centre had set the target of expanding 2,338 hectares of green cover in the capital, but Delhi government had increased it to 4,654 hectares. Like the previous year, the Kejriwal-led government will be working extensively on tree plantations this year, too, and similar campaigns will be initiated, he added.
The government aims to plant two crore trees within a span of five years. “During the pandemic, the forest department identified 13 medicinal plants, which on World Environment Day were distributed for free in the city. Jamun, neem, arjun, anwla, kari patta, giloy, and other medicinal plants were distributed through nurseries ,” he added.
Rai said the government had formed a committee that would work on replacing Vilayati Kikar trees with endemic plants of international standards. This work will take place under Delhi Ridge Project. “There are plants that purify the air quality more than others, including peepal, neem, guler, amaltaas, and pilkhan. We are going to try and plant more such trees. With this, we will be further ahead in combating air pollution,” he said.
Rai congratulated various departments on the success of the plantation drive. “The Kejriwal government will present the roadmap of the coming year in another month after conducting joint meetings with various departments. We will make sure we achieve the targets set by the central government and will put up greater benchmarks for ourselves,” he said.