If Beijing can clean its air, Delhi can be healthier too

Updated on Jun 08, 2015 02:04 PM IST

Following China's success in improving air quality in its capital Beijing, Delhi administration only needs to generate enough poltical will to make the city a cleaner place to live.

Hindustan Times | By, New Delhi

It may seem impossible to shed the tag of world’s most polluted capital, but Delhi can improve its air quality provided there is political will to initiate action against polluters and implement the Delhi de-congestion plan, say environmental experts.

For inspiration, authorities have to look no further than Beijing which has improved its air quality by 10-15% since 2008 by taking off half a million polluting vehicles off the road, closing down coal-based power plants in neighbouring regions and creating disincentives for using multiple personal cars.

“If we fail to act now, the future of our children will be in jeopardy,” says Sunita Narain, director general of Centre for Science and Environment, an advocacy group.

Vehicular emissions, a major contributor to air pollution, can be controlled by making public transport more accessible and viable for Delhiites. In addition to expanding the reach of the Metro, more air-conditioned buses that ply near major residential areas and increased congestion charge or parking fee will ensure that the city’s aspiring middle class shuns personal vehicles in favour of public transport.

A push to electric vehicles through an Rs 800-crore central government subsidy scheme could reduce emission load from vehicles that run on fossil fuels.

Authorities would also have to come up with a uniform environmental regulation regime across the entire national capital region, including areas of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Harsh measures such as higher road tax on registration of diesel vehicles in the entire region and closing down industries on days that record high air toxicity are also needed, say experts.

In the absence of political will to take action, a committee under the Supreme Court with requisite powers can be set up wherein governments of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh implement its informed decisions.

For instance, in the late 90s, the Environment Protection Control Authority set up by the Supreme Court provided requisite scientific input to clean Delhi’s air. The panel can be revived now.

Sarath Guttikunda, an air pollution expert who shifted to Goa because of Delhi’s highly-toxic air, argues that solutions are available but someone in authority needs to implement them.

For now, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal seems to be that person. Here’s a little motivation; former CM Sheila Dikshit won the 2003 assembly polls by claiming credit for cleaning Delhi’s air.


    Chetan Chauhan heads regional editions as Deputy National Affairs Editor. A journalist for over 20 years, he has written extensively on social sector with special focus on environment and political economy.

Close Story

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.

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