Delhi has had an infamous image of being a polluted and congested city for long now. CM Kejriwal’s Plan to ration the cars on the road was a trial to see if the odd even scheme frees Delhi of these problems. In the first 15 days of January odd even scheme was implemented i.e. cars with odd-numbered license plates could be driven on odd dates and even-numbered ones on even dates.
It is of utmost importance that Delhiites should be congratulated for being so supporting throughout the trial period. Delhi people followed the rules (mostly) and found alternative ways to travel. They evolved in short.
But the question now arises how helpful was this experiment ? The data collected using low-cost pollution monitors showed a mixed result-
- The average air pollution levels increased in the first week of January in comparison to the previous week. However, in the second week of January, air quality was marginally better, but still poorer than the last week of December.
- Average PM 2.5 level of 306 µg/m3 was observed during the first two weeks of January 2016, similar to average PM 2.5 level of 330 µg/m3 observed during the first fortnight of January 2014. However, the first two weeks of 2015 had a lower average PM 2.5 level of 226 µg/m3due to unseasonal rains and winds. In other words, meteorological variables such as temperature, wind speed and precipitation have a significant impact in the short-term. What that means is it’s hard to provide conclusive evidence on the impact of the odd-even policy on air quality.
- The daily average number of vehicles increased by 10% in these five locations during the first two weeks of January, as compared to the last week of December. This increase was primarily driven by an increase in 2-wheelers (17%), 3-wheelers (12%), taxis (22%) and private buses (138%).
- The number of private cars on the road, however, did not reduce. (Maybe because of the long list of exemptions. Trust me, the congestion on the streets was much less than “normal” .
One thing that we did surely learn that Delhi needs a pollution control tactic. In a recent meeting Delhi government said that a better version of odd even scheme will be implemented in the national capital soon.
(Inputs from forbes.com)