A senior Indian minister made an ambitious promise on Thursday May 9th that the government will work on cleaning New Delhi's toxic air in the next three years, AFP has reported. New Delhi has been ranked by the World Health Organisation as the world's most polluted capital, with its 20 million residents breathing air way above danger limits for most of the year.
Transport and water resources minister Nitin Gadkari, involved in a tense election campaign, vowed the megacity will be pollution free in three years because of measures the government has taken. "Our government has done 100% corruption-free, transparent, time-bound, results-oriented and quality work and that is why Delhi will be free of air and water pollution in the next three years," Gadkari told an election-campaign press conference late on May 9th. "This is my promise to you," he said, speaking at the headquarters of the ruling conservative Bharatiya Janata Party.
Gadkari said the government plans to spend more than $7 billion on infrastructure around the capital that would cut pollution by more than 30%. Two of the highways on the list are already open, however.
India's air pollution crisis has worsened in recent years, with 14 Indian cities among the world's 15 most polluted, according to the UN. Studies say the pollution causes hundreds of thousands of premature deaths each year.