In a sensational decision, odd and even number vehicles have been banned in Delhi on alternate days. In a bid to curb rising pollution, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi on 4 December decided to ban odd and even number vehicles on alternate days in the capital from January 1, 2016, said official sources.
The decision, taken at a high-level meeting presided over by the chief minister, will not apply to CNG-driven buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws, but will cover vehicles entering Delhi from other states too.
The government will also launch a web-based application, which people can use to report about polluting vehicles in the capital.
The AAP government has also decided to shut down south Delhi’s Badarpur power plant, one of the coal-based plants of the National Thermal Power Corporation.
Meanwhile, the government’s decision to place Beijing-like vehicular restrictions from 1 January, 2016, on 4 December got a near unanimous welcome from green experts, most of whom emphasised the serious situation called for very drastic measures.
Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) director general Sunita Narain said the move was imperative as the city’s air pollution has reached the level of an emergency.
Centre’s System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research chief project scientist Gufran Beig said it would lead to a reduction in Vehicle km travelled (VKT) (one vehicle travelling one km).
Anumita Roychowdhury of CSE said people must hail the move as “it is time to put chest beating and complaining measures on the ground”.
“Similar initiatives have worked in Beijing and Mexico City which have been grappling with pollution. Other cities such as London and Stockholm have gone for congestion pricing and Hong Kong for parking restrictions,” she said.
“I dpon’t know why we are waiting for 1 January, 2016 . We should begin this right away for we have to take action suitable for emergency situations. Delhi’s air pollution has certainly reached the public health emergency level,” added Narain.