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HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

Environment is Delhi’s Achilles heel

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 20, 2013
First Published: 00:57 IST(20/3/2013) | Last Updated: 00:59 IST(20/3/2013)

Having scored high on the scale of affluence, environment remained Delhi’s achilles heel, says the economic survey of Delhi for 2012-13.
 
The pollution levels in Delhi rose consistently while the forest cover went down.
 
The document points out that pollution and environmental degradation did not get as much attention as growth and development.
 
The ambient air quality in the Capital has deteriorated. The amount of sulphur-di-oxide tripled in 2011 as compared to 2010 while carbon monoxide levels also went up. The document also points that the ever-rising number of vehicles have been contributing to the rising noise pollution in the city.
 
Despite several action plans to clean Yamuna already in place, the 48-km stretch of the river flowing through the city remains highly polluted, the survey says. Water quality monitoring results indicate most drains are not meeting the prescribed standards of effluent treatment while industrial waste remained the main source of water pollution.
 
It is estimated that industrial activity in Delhi accounts for about 20 per cent of air pollution. The survey says industrial pollution needs to be reduced. “A scheme has been prepared to relocate industrial units from residential areas,” it reads. 
 
Vehicular pollution is another issue. The number of vehicles registered in Delhi has increased from 24.32 lakh in 1994-95 to more than 74 lakh in March 2013. The highest increase has been observed in the taxi segment where the number has gone up from 13,511 in 2004-05 to 69,780 in 2011-12.
 
Another matter of concern is solid waste. Delhi generates 8,500 tonnes of solid waste per day. The survey predicts that it is bound to increase due to economic and population growth. However, treating and managing this waste has become a headache with three of the four landfills in Delhi exhausting their lifespan. 
 
The growing green cover in Delhi was the only silver lining. But the survey accounts for figures till only 2009. The latest forest survey of India report released last year says Delhi has lost green cover amounting to .38 sqm km to infrastructure projects.
 
As per the economic survey, Delhi is the first city in the country to set a mandate and brought out a detailed climate change agenda on the lines of national action plan for climate change released by the Union government.

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