New Delhi: Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Thursday said the city government will launch a 17-day plantation campaign from July 10 to reduce pollution in the national capital.

Thirty-one lakh plants, trees, and shrubs will be planted under the campaign “Plant Trees, Save Environment” which will be launched from National Highway 20 near ITO. 

The plantation drive is expected to increase the city’s green cover from 325 square kilometres at present to 350 sq km by 2021, which will help reduce air pollution, Rai said during a virtual press conference.

Shrubs will be planted along the roads to reduce dust pollution, the minister said.

“The Centre has set a target of planting 15 lakh plants, trees and shrubs in Delhi. Our target is more than double of that,” he said. 

As many as 29.37 lakh plants, trees and shrubs were planted in Delhi in 2019 against the target of 24.18 lakh.  

In the “Guarantee Card” released before the assembly elections, the AAP government had promised to plant 2 crore plants, trees and shrubs in the city in the next five years.

Rai said Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia will participate in the campaign at ITO Nursery on July 13. 

Ministers Kailash Gehlot, Rajendra Pal Gautam, Imran Hussain and Satyendar Jain as well as Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel will also participate in it on July 15, July 17, July 20, July 22 and July 24, respectively. 

All 70 MLAs in Delhi will conclude the plantation drive in their areas on July 26, the minister said.

Rai said the government will get an audit conducted by Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, to ascertain the survival rate of the plants. 

The Delhi forest department had earlier got an audit conducted by the Agricultural Finance Corporation for the plantation drive carried out during 2013 to 2015. 

The FRI audit will be for 2016, 2017, and 2018, according to the department.

It will help ascertain which varieties of plants, trees and shrubs have the best survival rate in Delhi and which regions in the city are best suited for their growth, it said.  

The audit, which is expected to start in October, will take around four months. The report can be expected by February next year. 

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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