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High-power panel set up to address pollution

Kolkata: Mayor Firhad Hakim announced the formation of a high-power advisory committee on Tuesday headed by a reputed environmentalist to address pollution issues in Kolkata on a priority basis. The advisory committee will submit a short-term report within 15 days and a long-term report within 45 days on how to tackle the effect of air pollution.

"The short-term report will focus on how to address pollution with the winter setting in soon while the other will be a more detailed one, a comprehensive plan on curbing air pollution. We will implement the recommendations of the advisory committee in consultation with the state Pollution Control Board," Hakim added.

The 13-member committee comprises experts from IIT Kharagpur and Jadavpur University, a senior official from the West Bengal Pollution Control Board and senior officials from a number of departments of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation. Prof Aniruddha Mukherjee from the department of Environmental Science of Calcutta University has been made the chairman of the committee. Professors from departments of Chemical Engineering and Civil Engineering of IIT Kharagpur and JU have been made members while Director Generals of Roads, Solid Waste Management, Building and Sewerage have been named as well.

The Mayor added that the nature of pollution in Kolkata and Delhi is of a similar nature. "There is sea in Chennai as well as Mumbai and this dilutes the pollution but for Delhi and Kolkata, curbing pollution is a challenge. We have gone for extensive plantation to increase the green cover and are using sprinklers as much as possible," he added.

It may be mentioned that the KMC is planting weeping deodars along roadsides and have undertaken massive plantation of neem trees in parks as it accumulates relatively higher quantities of lead and has relatively high efficiency of carbon dioxide fixation.

"We are setting up fountains in parks wherever there will be the availability of space. The move is aimed at reducing air pollution as the suspended carbon particles that get circulated in the air can be settled with the water of the fountains," a senior official of the KMC's Parks and Gardens department said.

It may be mentioned that soon after taking over as the Mayor of Kolkata, Hakim has formed a separate department titled Urban Forestry and has laid a lot of emphasis in preserving and augmenting the green cover in the city.

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