NEW DELHI: "Fresh air is birth right", government said today while outlining several steps to check growing pollution in Delhi and maintaining that no foreign help was needed to monitor air quality in the country.
"Fresh air is birth right" and efforts were on deal with the problem of pollution, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said in Rajya Sabha during Question Hour.
When members pointed towards the rising pollution graph in the national capital, he said "air pollution in Delhi is surely a cause of concern" and steps like checking vehicular pollution, mechanical sweeping of roads to deal with dust and stress on battery-operated vehicles, were being taken to address it.
"Neither external help is required to monitor air quality in the country, nor is there any such proposal pending with the government," the Minister said.
While more air monitoring stations would be set up across the country, cumulative air quality index would also be launched to create awareness about air pollution, he said.
To another question, Mr Javadekar said environment clearance was given to 185 private projects in the nine months till February 2015, while 644 projects, both public and private, were at various stages of consideration.
Of the 185 projects cleared, 40 were in Gujarat, 33 in Andhra Pradesh and 15 each in Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
Mr Javadekar also maintained that environment norms were not diluted while granting the clearances.
To another question, the Minister said coal-based thermal power plants have been categorised as 'highly polluting industry'.
He said India has been able to utilise only about 50 per cent of the fly-ash emitting from thermal plants and efforts would be made to increase its utilisation. Among other things, fly-ash is used in brick buildings, mine filling and cement industry.