This was a damn trending topic, in optimistic as well as in a pessimistic manner. It got some furious, some felt high inconvenience, but I witnessed it closely. And this is the reason why I appreciate the effort taken, the effort of Odd-even scheme in 2016 to curb the high pollution levels.
Well, this is quite a debatable topic, hence I would definitely want readers to share their views over it .
What was the requisite, let’s actually understand some Facts :
- A 2014 World Health Organisation study listed the world’s 20 most polluted cities, with as many as 13 of these in India. Delhi attained Rank 1 amongst all , not to be proud of it for sure.
- Delhi has been termed as the most polluted city in India many times before also, but there was an Air quality survey in Q2. Greenpeace released the study which stated that the PM Level (Particulate matter) in Delhi is 10 times higher than the limit prescribed by WHO. Oh whopping isn’t it?
- Delhi has close to 17Mn registered vehicles & close to 12Mn in NCR (highest in the world among all cities)
- A study by SCE says that around 85k-86k commercial vehicles enter & exit Delhi every day from all the 9 entry points (around 5 times higher than MCD’s claim of heavy commercial vehicles).
- Trucks entering Delhi contribute close to 30% of PM2.5 & sudden spike in PM & Nitrogen Oxides level has been seen during the trucks entry timings in Delhi.
I believe now a layman can very well understand the reason of pollution & Traffic jams besieging India’s heart.
What does studies say about the PM concentration?
Well, as a matter of fact, these studies measure concentrations of most harmful PM10 & PM2.5(i.e. particles smaller than 10 or 2.5Microns). These Particulate matters reduce the air visibility, are the cause of Smog, enter into the lungs & are responsible for many respiratory problems. While the PM 2.5limit prescribed by WHO is 10 µg/m³, Indian Limit (as such relaxed) is 40 µg/m³ & the 2014 WHO Study stated Delhi with average of 152 µg/m³. But a very recent data in Oct 2015, reflected it to be on a peak of 428 µg/m³, somewhat 16 times higher than WHO limit. What have you got to say Delhiites?
These particulates are not just present in the air because of the poor fuel, but even ammonia from farms & fertilizers (on rampant use) combine with car exhausts & form these deadly particles.
Fate of such policies :
Hence, there has been a sudden effort to clean up Delhi’s air & with various other initiatives, Delhi government had come across “Odd – even policy” from Jan 1st -15th’ 2016. Not a new one, similar policies were introduced in :
- Beijing in 2008 Olympic games, which tasted the success in controlling pollution level. Although this was experimented again in 2013 in Beijing but it did not go successful.
- In 2014 Paris also experimented with this idea & the banned cars with even numbers, which again got little success.
- Mexico city had similar but a better scheme of running the cars with particular last number on specific day on the road. As numbers ending with 5/6 will run on Monday and so on, which was a better scheme. Even frauds /new cars registrations done by the people to run their cars on prohibited days got curtailed.
Yes, Delhi came up with many exceptions to try give comfort to some emergency vehicles, women only cars, such policies need more of public co-operation & stringent implementation. But what I was happy was that the :
- AQI in those 15 days turned out to be improved.
- I had a better feel of breathing while my morning walk. I could see less of vehicles on the road, which made me see Delhi from a new aspect.
- People opted for Public Transport, there were even first timers in the Metro’s, who praised the services we have.
- People made new friends during this course and it all got our knowledge enhanced.
- The beauty of Delhi was not hidden in the Smog, it came out beautifully.
Definitely, this was experimental policy, but we need many such policies and other provisions as mentioned below to have better life and celebrate the pure environment.
- Clean & better fuel from the commercial heavy vehicles
- Implementation of Euro 5/6 with immediate effect from 2016
- Promoting CNG Vehicles (subsidizing / fining diesel vehicles)
- Banning of Old vehicles & ensuring every registered vehicle with PUC Check (Heavy fines with no such check)
- Changing the time of commercial vehicles entering Delhi
- Promoting “Car Free days” more heavily making Metro connectivity & capacity more robust.
- Aggressively promoting “Car Pooling ”, as launching Car Pooling weeks or so
But yes, I’m definitely happy that all these measures & discussions have led people to come in terms with the facts, understand the criticality, get aware & contribute towards healthy breathing. We needed these initiatives to help us not become walking skeletons. These small initiatives & working hand in hand to make such schemes thriving will surely make Delhi a great place to live in.
Let’s pledge to initiate little efforts possible at our end (like car pooling, opting Public Transport, getting CNG vehicles, switch off the engines while at red light), to ensure our kids breathe freshness & no deadly particles.
Lets all put our hands together in #CelebratingSuper to make many such initiatives for our Dear Delhi with Vodafone !