Eastern expressway cut air pollution in Delhi by 7%: CRRI study
The Eastern Peripheral Expressway, which was launched in May 2018, has brought down vehicular pollution in Delhi by at least 7%, a recent study has indicated.
The Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) conducted the study on behalf of the Delhi government’s environment department, taking the source apportionment study done by IIT Kanpur in 2016, as its basis.
“..The results have been submitted to the environment department,” said Ravindra Kumar, head of transportation planning and environment at CSIR-CRRI.
A senior official of the environment department said the results of the latest study show that while levels of nitrogen dioxide has shot up by 7% along EPE the level of carbon monoxide has increased by 2.5%. The level of particulate matter has also gone up by 0.9% along the EPE because of increased vehicular activities after the expressway was thrown open in May 2018.
“The EPE was expected to reduce the number of heavy diesel truck traffic that enters the national capital triggering traffic chaos and air pollution. The fact that pollution levels along the EPE have gone up, indicates that the same amount of pollution has gone down inside the city,” said a senior official of the Delhi environment department, who is privy to the report.
The study, which was conducted over a period of 48 hours in mid-November 2018, shows that on an average 10,000 vehicles were using the EPE every day. Out of this, around 32% are trucks and 60% are cars. Around 8% of the vehicles are other types of vehicles, including buses and tractors, the official said.
An IIT Kanpur-study had earlier stated that vehicles contribute around 36% of nitrogen dioxide and 20% of PM2.5 in Delhi. A further breakdown of pollution sources done by TERI and ARAI in 2018 revealed that among the vehicles, trucks contribute the highest pollution of 8%, followed by two-wheelers (7%), and three-wheelers (5%).
“That the vehicular pollution is showing a decreasing trend because of the EPE is a good sign. Vehicular pollution is expected to go down further because of the inauguration of the Western Peripheral Expressway,” said Sunita Narain, member of the Supreme Court appointed body Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA).
It was estimated that around 25,000-30,000 heavy goods vehicles, which pay the environment compensation charge (ECC), would use the six-lane Eastern Peripheral Expressway every day. But since it opened, only around 16,000 of them use the EPE per day, an audit report prepared by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) earlier in September 2018 had stated. The report was submitted to the SC-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) the same month.
Eastern Peripheral Expressway was aimed at diverting at least 50,000 vehicles going to Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, decongesting the national Capital and bringing down vehicular pollution.
The western wing of the peripheral expressway, which connects Kundli with Manesar and Palwal, opened in November last year.