New Delhi: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday (April 3) said that the party will work towards strengthening the national programme to combat the increasing air pollution levels as this has become a major factor contributing to rising cases of public health emergencies. Mr. Gandhi in a Facebook post said that the party will reinforce the ‘National Clean Air Programme’ to combat the menace of air pollution in the country. He further said that a number of reports have stated that air pollution has been increasing exponentially in many cities in the country, with Delhi being cited as the world’s most polluted capital city.
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In March 2019, Greenpeace in its report on air pollution highlighted that out of 20 most polluted cities in the world, 18 are in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, while Beijing, once among the most polluted cities in the world, ranked 122 in the list of most polluted cities in 2018.
The report claimed that India still hosts 15 out of 20 most polluted cities in the world, with Gurugram (Gurgaon) and Ghaziabad being the most polluted cities globally, followed by Faridabad, Bhiwadi and Noida in the top six and Delhi on the spot 11.
Another study released on Wednesday (April 4), titled “State of Global Air 2019“, reported that the life of an average South Asian child growing up in current high levels of air pollution will be shortened by two years and six months, while the global life expectancy loss is about 20 months.
The study is produced annually by the US-based Health Effect Institute (HEI) and the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).
Senior Congress leader Ajay Maken said, “Congress introduced CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) in Delhi, which replaced diesel vehicles in public and private transport, and helped reduced air pollution to a great extent. The party is determined to combat air pollution.”
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NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.