Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday attended the C40 Cities Summit in Copenhagen through a video link and announced formation of a special task force to monitor implementation of 'Clean Air Cities Declaration' signed at the meet.
He was scheduled to travel to Denmark to take part in the summit but was denied permission by the External Affairs Ministry. Kejriwal attended a joint press conference and addressed a session at the summit through video conferencing.
"I wanted to be here personally but could not do so because of unavoidable circumstances," Kejriwal said. "I am very happy to announce that New Delhi is joining 37 other cities from around the world in signing the C40 'Clean Air Cities Declaration'. I am able to confidently sign this declaration because of the support of two crore residents of Delhi, who are my strength," he said.
Earlier, addressing a joint conference along with mayors of various world cities, Kejriwal announced formation of a special task force to monitor Delhi's progress towards meeting the goals of the 'Clean Air Cities Declaration'.
"I will chair a clean air task force that will consist of ministers and officials from various departments. We will together monitor Delhi's progress in meeting our goals to make Delhi's air clean," he said.
Besides Kejriwal, mayors of Paris, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Los Angeles and other cities also spoke at the joint conference.
Speaking at the session titled "Breathe Deeply", Kejriwal said his government implemented the odd-even vehicle rationing scheme in Delhi despite warnings about its political consequences and people supported it. Good environmental policies also make for good politics, he added.
The odd-even road rationing scheme will come into effect in Delhi from November 4-15 to combat high level of air pollution caused due to stubble burning in neighbouring states during winters. Previously, it was implemented in the national capital in January and April 2016.
Citing mass support for young Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, Kejriwal said issues related to climate change cannot be tackled without the support of the people. The chief minister also spoke about other measures taken by his government to beat air pollution, including procurement of electric buses, tree plantation drives, closing down thermal power plants, coming out with a draft electric vehicle policy, among others.
Over the last many years, Delhi struggled with high pollution levels, but now they have come down by 25 per cent, Kejriwal said.
The C-40 network connects more than 90 of the world's leading cities to take bold climate action and build a healthier and more sustainable future.
Representing more than 700 million citizens and a quarter of the global economy, mayors of C-40 cities are committed to deliver on the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement at the local level, as well as to cleaning the air, a statement said.