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Delhi can take leaf out of Mexico City book

Beginning in the early 1990s, a system called ‘Hoy No Circula’, or No-Drive Days, prohibited drivers from using their vehicles one weekday per week, with a schedule based on licence plate numbers.

delhi Updated: Mar 29, 2019 02:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
delhi,pollution,mexico
The national capital, which has been tagged as the most polluted city in the world, has something to learn from Mexico City, which has come a long way since the early 1990s — when it surfaced as the most polluted city.(PTI)

The national capital, which has been tagged as the most polluted city in the world, has something to learn from Mexico City, which has come a long way since the early 1990s — when it surfaced as the most polluted city.

While the Delhi government failed to clamp down on polluting vehicles and enforce the Odd-Even road rationing scheme in 2018, when air pollution crossed the emergency levels, Mexico City introduced it in the early ’90s and has since then evolved a mechanism through which cars could be taken off the roads based on their emission levels.

“Mexico City had introduced a scheme to withdraw cars from the roads based on their number plates. But since then, we have evolved a process through which only polluting cars would be taken off roads,” said Beatriz Cardenas, former general director of air quality management in Mexico City’s secretary of environment.

Mexico City, just like Delhi, was once riddled with high vehicular population, parking problems and severe pollution levels.

Beginning in the early 1990s, a system called ‘Hoy No Circula’, or No-Drive Days, prohibited drivers from using their vehicles one weekday per week, with a schedule based on licence plate numbers. In 2008, this system was expanded to include Saturdays.

“But now, we have developed a colour-coded sticker system. Cars have to undergo emission tests at least twice a year. Based on their emission levels, they are given stickers and numbers like 00, 0, 1 and 2. While the new cars are tagged as 00, the oldest cars are tagged 2. So, when we have severe pollution levels the cars with sticker numbers 2 are first taken off the roads,” she added.

But along with introducing such measures, the Mexico City’s government also opened Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines and launched a large bike-share system to promote alternatives to driving. “Several European countries have also evolved such systems. Once the colour-coded system comes into play in Delhi and NCR, it can be evolved to reduce the polluting segment,” said Anumita Roy Chowdhury of at Centre for Science and Environment.

First Published: Mar 29, 2019 02:53 IST