There is no data to suggest that the odd-even scheme has brought down vehicular pollution in Delhi, the Central Pollution Control Board told the national green tribunal on Thursday.
The country’s main pollution monitoring body — which is collecting and analysing air quality data in Delhi during the odd-even fortnight ending April 30 — said, “Fluctuations in PM10 and PM2.5 are due to the weather and change in wind patterns. Prima facie, there is no data to suggest the odd-even scheme has any impact on decrease in vehicular pollution.” It plans to submit a detailed report by May 2.
Particulate matter is fine dust contained in industrial and vehicular emission that lodges deep in the lungs and causes respiratory and cardiac problems.
The road-rationing scheme is the Aam Aadmi Party government’s big effort to clean Delhi’s air, counted as the most polluted in the world by WHO.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has claimed the first phase in January — pollution levels are highest in winter — reduced air toxicity by 15%. He has also hinted at making the scheme a monthly affair if people agree.
Apart from the CPCB, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee and environment think tank The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri) are studying the Capital’s air quality during the odd-even period. With pollution levels fluctuating since the restrictions kicked in on April 15, a Teri official said on Wednesday this was primarily due to changing wind speeds and that only a detailed analysis could ascertain the actual impact of the road-rationing scheme on air pollution.
Addressing the Delhi government, the NGT said on Thursday, “You are promoting odd-even so aggressively. Why don’t you take 15-year-old vehicles off the roads in similar fashion? Please do something.”
The tribunal was referring to one of its earlier orders banning all vehicles over 15 years old from plying on Delhi roads.