Odd-even missing in Delhi govt’s latest plan to combat air pollution

Updated on Nov 04, 2016 02:29 PM IST

The Delhi government unveiled new measures to control pollution, shifting attention from vehicular emissions to other sources that impact air quality such as crematoriums and construction and waste disposal sites in the capital.

A layer of smog envelops the city skyline before Diwali festival in New Delhi.(AP Photo)
A layer of smog envelops the city skyline before Diwali festival in New Delhi.(AP Photo)
Hindustan Times | By, New Delhi

The Delhi government unveiled on Tuesday a raft of measures to control an alarming spike in pollution, shifting attention from vehicular emissions to other sources that impact air quality such as crematoriums and construction and waste disposal sites in the capital.

Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said there is no plan to reintroduce the odd-even scheme, a twice-experimented vehicle rationing project which, experts said, failed to bring down pollution levels earlier this year.

Sisodia’s announcement came after he spoke to officials from several departments amid a surge in post-Diwali pollution that has left the city-state blanketed by a thick layer of toxic smog, triggering warnings that even healthy people were at risk of respiratory problems.

Multiple monitoring agencies put the air quality index at “severe”, a level at which there is a dense concentration of particulate matter (PM 2.5), tiny particles that can pass through the body’s filters and penetrate the lungs. The level of PM 10, slightly larger in size, also remained alarming.

Experts blame PM 2.5 for a host of ailments, ranging from minor respiratory problems to reduced lung function and even cancer.

Track pollution levels in your city with this real-time air quality map

Sisodia said the government has also asked the public works department (PWD) to re-introduce within two weeks vacuum cleaning and sprinkling of water on 1,250 km of roads.

“By doing this, we can control dust particles. In several countries, such technology is being used to curb dust pollution,” he said two days after the city recorded the worst Diwali night pollution in three years.

He added that the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has been asked to carry out regular inspections at construction sites with more than 20,000-square metre area.

“Over 90% of dust pollution comes from the construction, sites which need to be regulated. There are 61 major construction sites in Delhi, there are several small such sites and most of them violate laid down rules,” he said.

Sisodia said the government will install chimney smoke-tappers to control emission at 75 cremation grounds where wood is used as the fuel.

Apart from this, the government also decided to introduce controlled burning at garbage dumps, identified as major sources of harmful air pollutants.

The new measures were announced a few days after government said it will install giant air purifiers and mist sprayers at busy road junctions in the metropolis of 16 million people, identified as among the most polluted cities in the world.

Read | Delhi records worst air quality in three years this Diwali

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Ritam Halder has been a journalist for nearly a decade and has worked in multiple roles across organisations. He has been a features writer, a digital journalist as well as a desk hand. He now covers environment, water and urban issues in Delhi.

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