Odd-even next week might not be of much help for Delhi air: Experts
The odd-even road rationing scheme will be implemented in Delhi from Monday for five days as part of the emergency measures to tackle air pollution. Experts are, however, doubtful whether the scheme will help the city’s air quality.delhi Updated: Nov 10, 2017 18:29 IST
The odd-even road rationing scheme will be implemented in Delhi from Monday for five days as part of the emergency measures to tackle air pollution. Experts are, however, doubtful whether the scheme will help the city’s air quality. Furthermore, the Delhi government announced the scheme without the go-ahead of the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA).
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) task force for air pollution , which gives recommendations to the EPCA, met the authority on Thursday and decided that no new measure — including odd-even — needs to be enforced at the moment.
The minutes of the meeting, a copy of which is with Hindustan Times, said, “The present situation is likely to prevail till tomorrow (November 10, 2017), subsequently anticyclone over Delhi will get weakened. Ground wind speed are calm and prevailing direction in N and NW. Moisture content is also expected to reduce. IMD informed that pollution levels are expected to reduce from November 11, 2017 to ‘Very Poor’ AQI.
“The Task Force, at this stage, is not making any further recommendations, and will meet again tomorrow i.e. November 10, 2017 to take stock of the situation,” it added.
Experts questioned the timing of the third phase of the odd-even scheme. They said the scheme should have been enforced in the past few days when the pollution level was very high, and that it is too late now for the scheme to be implemented. “Delhi witnessed the worst three days in terms of air quality on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The air quality has started improving. From Friday and Saturday, weather conditions are expected to improve further. If odd-even scheme was implemented in these days, it would have been definitely much more effective,” said Dipankar Saha, head of the CPCB’s air lab.
Additionally, he said the odd-even scheme with exemption for two-wheelers will not have much impact. “In winter, out of the total 28% vehicular pollution, how much is cars’ contribution? The odd-even scheme has been announced only for Delhi and not for the NCR. How much improvement will it bring is doubtful.”
An IIT-Kanpur study for 2013-14 said that during winters, vehicles were the second largest and the “most consistent” source of pollutants PM10 and PM2.5. It, however, shows that the share of four-wheelers in the vehicular contribution is 10% each in case of PM2.5 and PM10. The share of trucks and two-wheelers stand at around 46% and 33% respectively.
According to The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the road rationing scheme has limited potential for reducing pollution in Delhi. “As per our estimates, it led to a reduction of 4-7% in air pollution last year. We recommended its use for limited period only during air quality emergency conditions. Exemptions given in the scheme could further reduce its effectiveness,” said Sumit Sharma, associate director, TERI, said.
Few experts, however, feel that the third time for the road rationing scheme might have a different outcome.
“Earlier, odd-even was done in isolation. This year, this is part of the emergency plan along with several other measures. These have been happening sequentially. Like shutting down of Badarpur power plant, brick kilns, ban on diesel generator sets, pet coke, furnace oil, among others. There will be initial hiccups, as it is seen, but these are being enforced,” said Anumita Roychowdhury of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).