The odd-even formula will also help reveal the most polluted parts of the city.
The Delhi government’s environment department will monitor the air quality at 200 spots in the city, starting January 1, to get a better idea of the pollution levels in the city and the reduction, if any, seen after the odd-even formula is implemented.
The department is in the process of procuring five mobile pollution testing kits to monitor air quality at different locations. The plan was in place for a long time but got the odd-even formula push as the department wanted to have the kits by the end of the year to be able to monitor the air quality before, during and after the 15-day restrictions on vehicles are in place.
“More samples will be picked up using these portable kits. It takes 6 minutes to take the air quality reading of a particular place. More sampling will be made possible to get a proper assessment of the before and after figure for pollution,” said a senior government official.
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee currently monitors air quality at six stations —Anand Vihar, Mandir Marg, RK Puram, Punjabi Bagh, Civil Lines and IGI Airport. Of these, Anand Vihar is the most polluted. The new portable kits will help increase the ambit of monitoring. One kit costs in the range of `12 lakh-`15 lakh.
Monitoring air quality at several locations will also help clarify if vehicular pollution is indeed among the primary causes of increasing air pollution in the city. A recent study by IIT Kanpur said that vehicular pollutants in winters are the primary pollutants in Delhi’s air and contribute to 60% of pollution during winter months.
If air pollution during the 15-day period falls considerably, it could establish the fact that there is a close link between vehicular emissions and Delhi’s toxic air.
Some studies, presented to the National Green Tribunal, have said that the contribution of vehicular pollution to air pollution is minimal and it is dust and crop stubble burning that is responsible for Delhi’s poor air quality.
The government is also in the process of procuring LED screens so that air quality across the stations can be displayed.
Activists in India have been demanding a system for displaying air quality levels along with warnings.