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As Delhi Pollution Outstrips Beijing, Government Brings Back Odd-Even, Here’s What Experts Have To Say

As odd-even scheme returns in New Delhi in a bid to tackle Air Pollution, industry experts and ministers share their views

As Delhi Pollution Outstrips Beijing, Government Brings Back Odd-Even, Here’s What Experts Have To Say
Highlights
  • Odd-Even scheme to be in place from November 13 to 17
  • The decision came when Delhi pollution outstrips Beijing
  • Experts & Ministers say, odd-even is not a solution to fight Air Pollution

New Delhi: The Odd-Even road rationing scheme, which regulates vehicular traffic in a bid to check Air Pollution was meant to roll out from November 13 to 17, given Delhi’s smog crisis this week. But now National Green Tribunal has asked the Delhi government to prove whether Odd-Even scheme has reduced pollution in the previous years or else the green court will stay the imposition of the scheme. Commenting on the time of the implementation of the scheme, NGT added, “When situation is improving, the government is trying to implement it. The government should have taken this step earlier.” The green body also said that the scheme will now cause inconvenience to people. However, the Aam Aadmi Party has strongly defended its government’s decision to bring back the odd-even road-rationing scheme, saying vehicular pollution was the biggest source of ultrafine particulate matters measuring less than 2.5 microns. AAP’s Delhi unit convener and Labour Minister Gopal Rai said “creating awareness” was the biggest success of the previous two rounds of the scheme. Mr Rai further stated that PM 2.5, of which vehicular combustion is a major source, is a pollutant that chokes the lungs and leads to other respiratory diseases. PM10 is also another major pollutant but that is the usually the dust on the roads and dust in itself is not harmful.

Also Read: Decoding Delhi’s Air Pollution: Move Over Stubble Burning; Vehicles, Construction Dust And Waste Burning Prime Culprits For Delhi’s Toxic Air

The odd-even scheme allows cars with licence plates ending in an odd number and even-number to ply on alternate days. The scheme has got mixed reactions so far from the industry experts and ministers, stressing on the point that knowing the cause behind Air Pollution in the city is crucial, the Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari added,

The odd-even rule would have been successful if it was first researched why the situation like this has occurred suddenly in the last three days in the city. The automobiles run the whole year round, so why just now?

Also Read: Battling Delhi’s Killer Smog: Odd-Even 3.0 Returns From November 13, But Will It Be A Success?

While, Minister of Parliament, Meenakshi Lekhi said,

The odd-even car rationing scheme is a formula for traffic management, and not a solution to Delhi’s high level of pollution primarily due to dust and debris.

The minister also pitched for augmenting public transport, proper waste management and containing encroachments to tackle the problem.

Questioning the success of the Odd-Even scheme, Union minister Harsh Vardhan said

What scientific backing is there to prove that the scheme will work 100 per cent in curbing Air Pollution in the city.

A top United Nations (UN) official, Yuri Afanasiev added,

Tackling environmental pollution, such as the haze that has enveloped Delhi, calls for an “all- encompassing approach” over and above measures such as a ban on firecrackers and controlling the volume of vehicles on the roads.

From Ministers to Green Bodies

I.J. Kakkar from Central Pollution Control Board team said, “The odd-even scheme would have been successful if it was implemented at correct time. We are already too late to implement the same, today the condition is better than yesterday, on Monday, the state of Air Quality is expected to be much better.”

While The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) said that the scheme has limited potential for reducing pollution in Delhi and exemptions given in the scheme (women drivers and two wheelers are exempted from odd-even scheme) could further reduce its effectiveness.

On the other hand Sunil Dahiya from the Greepeace India added, “Bringing back odd-even is a good idea but other factors like construction, thermal power plants that contribute to pollution should also be tackled.”

Stressing the need for the long term solutions to fight Air Pollution, Usman Nasir, Senior Research Associate Clean Air And Sustainable Team, Centre For Science and Environment said, “Odd-Even scheme does bring down the pollution levels, but, it is just the temporary solution. After the odd-even is over, when the vehicles are back on road, the pollution will see a spike. So, what we need is long-term solutions.”

According to the research done by IIT-Kanpur, which covered the period 2013-14 during winters, vehicles are the second largest and the “most consistent” contributing source of pollutants PM10 and PM2.5. But, the catch is, in the report findings highlights that trucks and two-wheelers are the major polluters. The share of four-wheelers in the break-up of vehicular contribution is 10 per cent each in cases of both PM2.5 and PM10. Whereas, the share of trucks and two-wheelers stand at around 46 per cent and 33 per cent respectively. So, exclusion of 2-wheelers seems to be a big loophole of the scheme.

As a precautionary step to combat high levels of pollution, the government on Wednesday banned the entry of heavy vehicles except those carrying essential commodities in the city’s borders.

Also Read: 7 Steps Taken By Authorities To Curb Rising Air Pollution Levels In Delhi

(With inputs from PTI)

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Kumar

    November 10, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    I believe Uber and Ola have contributed too. How??
    All taxis prior to Uber were CNG (in Delhi) and now most Uber taxis are Diesel (they mostly are registered in Haryana, UP or Rajasthan).
    Other issues too contribute but this clearly is one that no one seems to be keen on solving

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