Delhi’s pollution levels are worsening by the day but the authorities are yet to devise a comprehensive action plan to tackle the problem.
After the odd-even road rationing scheme, implemented in January and April, the Delhi government announced an array of plans to control pollution. But they are either still in the pipeline or have failed to produce the desired results.
“The government did nothing to tackle this problem. If stubble burning was an issue then interstate meetings should have been called before the harvesting season started. When you had the option of preventing this in good time, why did you not,” said Dr Padnabhan Gowda, principal researcher in health and environment policy at IIT-Delhi.
An IIT Kanpur study of Delhi’s air last year says 38% of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 and 56% of PM 10 in the air is because of road dust.
There have not been much efforts within Delhi to prevent the high levels of pollution this winter. In April, the Delhi government brought six giant mechanised sweepers to deal with road dust. These machines, with bristles on the sides and a suction machine in the centre were expected to solve dust woes. Seven months later, these machines are no longer in use.
On Tuesday, deputy chief minister, Manish Sisodia, relaunched the plan. He said the machines will only suck in dust and sprinkle water. He also announced outdoor purifiers and mist machines at five locations.
“None of these are long-term plans…These might work when the levels are marginally high, not when we are battling such high pollution,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
A host of other long and short term measures that could alleviated Delhi’s pollution woes are lying on paper. HT analyses what was suggested and what has been done.