8.9 million reasons why Delhi should worry about its air

Published on Sep 28, 2016 08:36 AM IST
HT Image
HT Image

New Delhi: For most Delhiites, choking on heavy fumes from diesel vehicles on city roads is a part of everyday life. With each breath of the polluted city air, they are at greater risk of respiratory ailments, heart diseases, cancer, musculoskeletal and neurological disorders.

The Capital has over 8.9 million registered vehicles and another 50,000 commercial vehicles enter the city’s borders each night. A two-year analysis, submitted by IIT Kanpur to the Delhi government, identified the major contributors to the city’s pollution levels. Vehicular emissions were found to be among the top two contributors. According to the report, pollution from vehicles grew from 64% to 72% between 1990 and 2000. During the winter season, on an average vehicles contribute up to 25% of PM2.5 and at certain locations this could be above 35%.

In winters, 46% particulate emissions (PM10) were attributed to trucks and 33% to two wheelers. Four wheelers trailed behind at 10%, followed by buses (5%) and light commercial vehicles (4%), the study found. More than a third (38%) of the small particulate matter (PM2.5) not visible to the naked eye was contributed by road dust, while 20% was from vehicular emissions.

“Small particles are the most dangerous as they enter the walls of lungs and clog it. This causes severe respiratory problems and other degenerative diseases,” said Dr Anant Mohan, lungs specialist, AIIMS.

WHAT NEXT

To reduce vehicular pollution the government has taken measures such as introduction of BS-VI standards for fuel by 2020. This will cut down diesel vehicle emissions to petrol levels for all pollutants and slash 55% of the particulate matter and 47% of nitrous oxide emissions. Besides this, initiatives are also being taken to encourage the market of e-vehicles in the city.

However, this not enough to control vehicular emission.

“Just giving subsidies on e-vehicles will not help. The government first needs to provide proper infrastructure. I have two electricity driven cars but I think twice before taking them out for long rides. There are no charging points anywherein the city and I have to rely on personal is ed charging kits which I got along with the car,” said Sunil Kumar Dahiya, a pilot with a private airline who has been using e-cars for the past two years now.

Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said vehicular emission has remained a significant source of pollution in the city and the government’s odd-even road rationing scheme and orders to limit the registration of diesel vehicles have proved this.

“The government needs to proactively work on a comprehensive policy package that includes phasing in a policy of obsolescence for vehicles, congestion fees, expansion and integration of public transport. Measures have been taken, but we need to keep up the momentum and encourage public participation,” Roychowdhury said.

In 2013, Dr Sarath Guttikunda published a study on environment according to which vehicular emissions contributed 90%, 54% and 33% to Nitrogen Oxide (NOx), suspended particulate matter and sulphur dioxide (SO2) emission, respectively.

In the same year, a study led by Dr Pramila Goyal of IIT-Delhi’ s Centre for Atmospheric Studies flagged emissions from two wheelers as a‘ matter of concern ’. Two wheelers contribute between 40% and 60% of the total pollution from vehicles, the study said. It identified Heavy Commercial Vehicles (HCVs) to be the major contributors to particulates (92%).

Market trends also show the city’s heavy reliance on private vehicles. Last year, Delhi recorded a 9.5% increase in the sale of cars, excluding the luxury segment.

“Only a good public transport system can reduce people’s dependence on private vehicles. If we do not provide them a comfortable, cheap-and-well-connected alternative, it will be unfair to expect people to not use their cars,” said PK Sarkar, head of department (transport planning) at the School of Planning and Architecture. “As the dependence on private vehicles increases, the air pollution levels will become more uncontrollable.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Soumya Pillai covers environment and traffic in Delhi. A journalist for three years, she has grown up in and with Delhi, which is often reflected in the stories she does about life in the city. She also enjoys writing on social innovations.

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Dr Sunil Sanon with the Khadi national flag presented to him by the Jaiprakash Agarwal family who got it from Mahatma Gandhi in 1946 during his visit to Mussoorie. (HT Photo)

    Tricolour gifted by Mahatma Gandhi preserved with utmost care by Mussoorie duo

    It has not been a matter of concern for a doctor duo, who has made it a point to preserve the Khadi Tricolour that was gifted to them by a Delhi-based family, which was passed down to them directly from Mahatma Gandhi. The prized gift became part of their lives when they were Gandhi's ardent followers and instrumental in conducting his prayer meetings whenever he visited Mussoorie.

  • Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar reminded Bima Bharti that she was twice made a minister “though she does not know how to speak and read”. (HT File/Santosh Kumar)

    ‘Sack minister or I quit’: JDU MLA’s public message to Nitish Kumar. He responds

    Janata Dal-United (JDU) legislator Bima Bharti on Thursday threatened to resign from the assembly and the party if chief minister Nitish Kumar doesn't drop food minister Leshi Singh from his cabinet, saying she was involved in extortion, murder and anti-party activities. She also blamed Leshi Singh for the defeat of her daughter in the district board elections. Bima Bharti represents Rupauli assembly segment; Leshi Singh is the legislator from the adjoining seat, Dhamdaha.

  • Finally, the kid turned the corner and went his way. The couple settled down to take a well-deserved break. My heart went out to these parents who like most human parents had no idea about parenting skills but only an intuition to guide them at being good parents. (HT Photo)

    Parenting: An intuitive skill in all creations

    The toughest job on earth is parenting. Despite there being tomes written about the skill, parenting is mostly intuitive. But at the end of the day, you are responsible for the physical, emotional and mental development of your child. For most parents, parenting is also about providing a safe environment for children. We go out of the way to protect our little ones.

  • Available at domestic arrival, this facility can be availed at hourly basis at the Chennai airport.

    Sleepzo: Now, you can take a quick nap at this Indian airport | Details here

    In its bid to make transit travelers more comfortable while waiting for their flights, the Chennai airport has launched its sleeping facility called 'Sleepzo'. The Airports Authority of India shared information about these sleeping capsules come with various amenities. Available at domestic arrival, this facility can be availed on an hourly basis at the Chennai airport. The video tweeted by Airports Authority of India shows compact, four sleeping pods being inaugurated.

  • Deputy CM said the Delhi government was clueless over developments in the Rohingyas reported resettlement. (File image)

    ‘If not AAP or Centre...’: Sisodia writes to Amit Shah on Rohingyas row

    Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Thursday wrote to union home minister Amit Shah urging him to clarify the Centre's stand on Rohingya refugees in the national Capital and sought action against officials in the central and Delhi government for “secretly planning” to shift them to flats in outer Delhi locality.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, August 18, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now