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US award to Delhi for curbing air pollution
Priya Solomon in New Delhi |
June 07, 2003 01:49 IST
Delhi bagged the United States Department of Energy's first Clean Cities International Partner of the Year award last month, for its 'bold efforts to curb air pollution and support alternative fuel initiatives'.
"The city has taken one step and there are many more ahead," says Delhi Chief Secretary Shailaja Chandra, who received the award on behalf of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
Delhi converted its entire fleet of diesel government transport buses to Compressed Natural Gas. "We were appreciated for the unparalleled and extraordinary work we had done. While most American cities have converted 11-12,000 vehicles, we have managed 70,000," says Chandra.
And the appreciation was evident by the standing ovation she got while receiving the award at the 9th National Clean Cities Conference and Exposition in Palm Springs in US.
Clearly, Delhi has changed for the better. Experts believe the city's air is more cleaner after the smoke-belching vehicles, including the Delhi Transport Corporation buses, were phased out in the last couple of years.
It was the Supreme Court that set the ball rolling in 1998, ordering all aging and diesel-run vehicles to convert to CNG.
At a function following the award ceremony, Chandra briefed the mayors and other dignitaries present about Delhi's future plans towards a cleaner city.
The vision for Delhi, according to Chandra, is to focus on cleaning the Yamuna River, better waste management and planting more trees.
The clean Yamuna campaign is conducted every year during May and June and various officials, non-governmental organisations, resident welfare associations, schools and hospitals are involved in it.
During the drive huge quantities of plastic bags, garbage, water hyacinths and litter from river embankment are cleared and sent to the sanitary landfill sites. "Everyone has a stake in it," says Chandra.
And the credit for all the campaigns goes to Dikshit, who personally oversees them.
"With her motivation, officials from each department have gone and participated in these drives. They may be symbolic, but it shows that they care," says Chandra. "Two years back it would not have been possible."