What the Delhi government has done and hopefully will do

- September 27, 2019
| By : Sashikala VP |

Climate change is becoming the most talked about issue, thanks to the effort of a 16-year-old. But what is the Capital city doing to combat climate change? The ‘Fridays For Future’ protest has in some ways only now awakened people to the reality that is climate change. Initiated by a 16-year-old activist, Greta Thunberg, it […]

Youths hold placards holds a placard and shout slogans as they participate in a climate strike to protest against governmental inaction towards climate breakdown and environmental pollution, part of demonstrations being held worldwide in a movement dubbed "Fridays for Future", in New Delhi on September 20, 2019. (Photo by Money SHARMA / AFP)

Climate change is becoming the most talked about issue, thanks to the effort of a 16-year-old. But what is the Capital city doing to combat climate change?

The ‘Fridays For Future’ protest has in some ways only now awakened people to the reality that is climate change. Initiated by a 16-year-old activist, Greta Thunberg, it has mobilised people, especially the younger generation to strike for what is at a critical stage — our environment.

These protests even hit Delhi and may continue to be held, but the focus here on is the Delhi government and its actions to fight climate change.

UN Habitat, tells us exactly why accountability of cities like Delhi is important. With cities consuming 78% of the world’s energy and produce more than 60% of greenhouse gas emissions, where else must we look to find a solution?

While Delhi is infamous for many a criminal activity, it has also become the most polluted city on the earth. And pollution has a direct consequence on climate change. The Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies points out that air pollution drives up carbon dioxide emissions with the extraction and burning of fossil fuels.

So, what has the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party done for combating this? The chief minister claims that the pollution levels in the city have dropped by 25%. He even went as far as to say that it is the only city to see pollution levels going down, but accepting that a lot more has to be done.

For this, Delhi — like other states and Union Territories — has a State Climate Change Action Plan (SAPCC), under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). Reportedly the last to submit its plan, it chalks out the initiatives and plans of the Delhi government under six major planks.

Here we look at ‘Initiatives by Delhi Government’ marked out in the final copy of the action plan, progress cited and developments we found.

Solar Power

What the plan says: Solar energy has a lot of potential in Delhi to reduce the dependence on coal-fired electricity and hence contribute to reduction in greenhouse gases.

Progress cited:

– Solar power policy is cleared by Delhi Government.  The policy recommends installation of 1 GW (1,000 Mega Watts) solar power capacity in Delhi by the year 2020.

– Rooftop solar PV plants installed in four government schools of 40 kWp each and four government hospitals of 100 kWp each.

What more:

– Last year 21 schools were fitted with solar panels on a pilot basis. Plans for 100 Delhi government schools to be fitted with solar panels, which may go further up to 500 more schools, were announced in June this year.

Enhanced Energy Efficiency

What the plan says: The Energy Conservation Act of 2001 provides a legal mandate for the implementation of energy efficiency mandates.

Progress cited:

– Increasing number of CNG buses in Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) fleet on the roads.

– Restrictions on vehicle use by using odd/even formula.

– Ban on 15-year-old commercial vehicles, 10-year-old diesel vehicles, entry of trucks

– A 16-MW Waste-to-Energy plant at Okhla implemented by Jindal Ecopolis for utilising 1950 TPD of Municipal Solid Waste

– 12-MW Waste-to-Energy Plant at Ghazipur is on trial run by East Delhi Waste Processing Limited (EDWPCL) for utilising 1300 TPD for Municipal Solid Waste

– 24-MW Waste-to-Energy Plant at Narela, Bawana is under trial run by Delhi MSW Solutions (DMSWSL) for utilising 3,000 TPD waste.

– Increased green cover of Delhi upto 20.22%

What more:

– The DTC is going to float tender for 300 electric buses.

– Plans to reintroduced odd-even scheme this winter to combat air pollution

– Okhla Waste to Energy (WTE) plant received a show cause notice from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) earlier this year for violations.

– A news report in August says mountain of garbage at the Ghazipur landfill has gone from 13 million metric tonnes to 14 mmt.

Sustainable Habitat

What the plan says: To make habitat sustainable through improvements in energy efficiency in buildings, management of solid waste and modal shift to public transport.

Progress cited:

– The star rating of electrical equipment’s which shows energy efficient appliances and technology for the purpose.

– Ongoing action plan with timeline has been prepared to control Air Pollution in Delhi.

What more: In preparation for the toxicity that comes through each year in the winter, CM Kejriwal has announced a seven-point Parali Pradushan Action Plan. This includes pollution masks, which don’t combat the problem but only give temporary relief. For Diwali, the government plans on having a Community Diwali Laser Show; Hotspot Control; and Dust Control.

Mission for Green India

What the plan says: Recognising the importance of the green cover, Delhi has green cover increasing from 26 sq km to 300 sq km in 15 years, which is about 20.22% of the area of Delhi. This is proposed to be increased to 25% by 2030.

Progress cited:

– Delhi has nearly 20,000 small/medium/big parks and gardens, 42 city forests in different locations in the city, five Ridge areas, six bio-diversity parks, restored water bodies in flood plains and developed other greens.

What more:

– An NGO moved the National Green Tribunal in August, alleging that the Delhi government has given permission to cut 3,000 trees and transplant another 3,500 trees for the Dwarka Expressway Package II, without assessing the survival rate of the transplanted trees

– Tree Challenge, with home delivery of plants and appointment of “environment marshals”, announced in September.

Water Mission

What the plan says: Developing a framework to optimise water use by increasing efficiency by 20% through regulatory mechanisms with differential entitlements and pricing. New strategies need to be tried out to conserve water and use waste water efficiently since 80% of raw water is waste water.

Progress cited:

– Construction of recycling plants at 4 WTPs

– Regular water quality monitoring is carried out by DPCC at 24 drains, nine locations along Yamuna, water Bodies/ponds, 21 STPs and 2 mini STPs, 13 CETPs monitored for 17 parameters based on inlet and outlet, 10 WTPs, ground water (34 locations).

– Steps taken for reducing water consumption, quality, monitoring and regulatory measures for misuse and theft

What more:

– Pilot project for natural water storage on the Yamuna floodplain started in August of this year

– Many unauthorised colonies still depend on borewells for water, sucking up the underground water of Delhi.

– The Delhi Jal Board in December of 2018 approved a Rs 376-crore plan to rejuvenate 159 waterbodies and another Rs 77-crore project for creation of two lakes in order to aid groundwater recharge

Mission for Strategic Knowledge

What the plan says: Strategic Knowledge Mission aims to identify challenges of climate change by ensuring focused research.

Progress cited:

– R&D project for production and use of bio fuels from waste oil

– About 2000 eco-clubs have been selected in schools and colleges for creating environmental awareness & action-oriented activities involving students and teachers.

– Awareness campaign on “Greening Delhi”, “Say Yes to Eco-friendly Bags”, “Waste minimisation”, amongst others.

– Project to convert organic waste generated in Delhi Secretariat into biofuel (based on BARC technology) has been set up.

What more:

– Dr Sabat, a consultant with the Department of Environment in the Delhi government, says that the government has taken positive steps to combat climate change but people’s participation is imperative to have any impact. They are working with eco clubs, assisting NGOs, other than raising awareness in schools and colleges.

– Students of all schools from class 6 onwards to be roped in as “awareness ambassadors” as a part of “Jal Shakti Abhiyan”.

Energy Consumption Profile

What the plan says: This chapter details out the total energy consumption for Delhi. The idea is to identify the total energy consumption from different energy sources in the city and the sector-wise distribution of energy consumption amongst various sectors like: Residential, Commercial, Industrial and Municipal.

Progress cited:

– Compulsory use of CNG in all the commercial vehicles plying on the roads of Delhi.

– As on 31 March 2018, 5,472 LED lights have been installed and energised. Street Lighting Energy Efficiency project will reduce electricity consumption by improving street lighting efficiency in the municipal street lighting services. 

What more:

– This year Delhi’s electricity demand touched an all-time high of 7,241 megawatt (MW), breaking the previous record of 7,016 MW recorded on July 10, 2018.

– Out of 1,542 industries in Delhi, 1,457 industries have been converted into CNG-powered ones.

– The Delhi government has decided to “officially” shut down the Rajghat thermal power plant and use its land to develop a 5,000 KW solar park.