Indian Mirror | Why Delhi’s odd-even formula was rather oddly placed?

“Cars are not the primary polluters in the Delhi and contribute a mere one per cent of the Particulate Matter – PM 2.5 concentration”

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur

car-pollution

Delhi government may have been screaming loudly to declare odd-even scheme as a grand success, however if one goes by the study of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, conducted on behalf of the state government, it becomes evident that it was nothing but a knee-jerk reaction by the state government and not a well-thought-out action.

The IIT study has pointed out that 38% of PM 2.5 pollution comes from road dust and only 9% comes from all categories of vehicles combined. Of all the vehicles, 46% of pollution is caused by trucks and 33% is caused by two-wheelers, while four wheelers — (only diesel)— contribute only 10%, which makes it even less than 1% of the total pollutants.

pramila

The state government has conveniently kept out two-wheelers from the ambit of this regulation. However, a study led by Dr Pramila Goyal of IIT-Delhi’s Centre for Atmospheric Studies has highlighted the stark contrast. It flagged emissions from two wheelers as a matter of great concern. According to the study, two wheelers contribute between 40% and 60% of the total pollution from vehicles. It also identified Heavy Commercial Vehicles (HCVs) to be the major contributors to particulates (92%).

Auto industry experts are unanimous of the view that emissions by two-wheelers might be less than cars but since their numbers are almost double that of the latter, on a cumulative basis the level of emissions is much higher.

For instance, around 1.8 lakh passenger vehicles were sold in Delhi in 2015; the number for two-wheelers sold was more than double than this at 3.8 lakh. So, it is clear that by keeping two-wheelers out of the ambit of odd-even, the level of pollution will not be effectively controlled.

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Experts and industry frontrunners were critical of state government’s odd-even formula. RC Bhargava, chairman of the country’s largest car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki had stated that 80% of the cars in Delhi were petrol or CNG, which did not emit PM pollutants at all. It was only the 20% diesel cars, which emit particulate matter. Delhi government has no explanation as to why petrol cars were put under the ambit of this irrational initiative?

Delhi is the most polluted city in the world and something needs to be done at war footing. But, the pollution problem is way too complex and the major pollutants need to be controlled if we have to find a sustainable solution to the problem. The major offenders of pollution are:

  • Old buses and trucks
  • Diesel tempos
  • Dust particles
  • Diesel generators
  • Thermal power plants
  • Diesel machinery at construction sites

Ironically, majority of the above mentioned pollutants didn’t figure in Delhi government’s odd-even formula.

Supreme Court has also validated various studies and expert views by recognizing the fact that petrol cars do not emit PM pollutants. Instead of introducing the car rationing system, Delhi government should have focus on controlling other sources of pollution.

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