With National Green Tribunal (NGT) and Delhi government at loggerheads over the implementation of the odd-even scheme, the pollution crisis in the national capital continues to haunt people, with PM2.5 readings even touching the maximum 999 at several places in the city.
The first odd-even experiment, which lasted 15 days from January 1, 2016, resulted in a marginal drop in the PM2.5 levels and garnered a lot of criticism from many environmental experts for being an ineffective step. Although the levels of the toxic particles came down by 8 to 10 percent in some pockets, the rest of the capital recorded a minor drop of 2 to 3 percent.
A recent study by two IIT Delhi researchers Sourangsu Chowdhury and Sagnik Dey finds that restricting traffic volume alone cannot control the PM 2.5 concentration in Delhi, where there are multiple other sources contributing towards making the city’s air dirty. Their study, which is also the first ever research that scientifically analyses the vehicle rationing scheme in the capital, claims that exposure to alarmingly high levels of PM 2.5 is responsible for approximately 12,000 premature deaths every year.
Even if the odd-even scheme is implemented anytime soon, how the Delhi government deals with the issue of already deficit public transportation remains a pertinent ask. At present, there are 1,600 DTC and 3,900 cluster buses which fail to cater the humongous number of daily commuters.
If the odd-even formula is applied again with no exemption to the government buses, the already deficit passenger ferrying capacity of public transport is going to reduce, which is bound to cause a lot of inconvenience to the public.
Also, what adds to the woes of people is that Delhi Metro fares also have been increased twice in the current year.