Delhi ends odd-even plan to curb air pollution

After 15-day trial period, Delhi government’s odd-even car plan to prevent air pollution will end on 15 January

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

On January1, Delhi started to implement odd-even scheme to stem rising air pollution

On Friday, after a two-week trial, India’s capital Delhi ended its odd-even scheme which restricted movement of four-wheelers due to rising levels of air pollution. 

Odd-numbered cars were allowed on the roads on odd dates and even-numbered cars on even dates between the dates of January 1 and 15.

However, it is not clear if the plan has worked to decrease air pollution or not.

According to authorities, as a result of the trial, there was more than a 50% decrease in air pollution.

The Delhi government is going to gather on Monday to discuss whether precautions can be increased in the second phase.

On January 1, the average PM2.5 levels for New Delhi were over 297, almost 5 times higher than the Indian norm of 60 and almost 15 times over the World Health Organisation standard of 20.

PM2.5 levels is a method used by WHO meaning the measurement of fine particulate matter of 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter.

Traffic police and volunteers took to the streets to apply the plan, and dozens of children wore smog-masks and held banners urging drivers to comply.

Most drivers adhered to the rule on its first day.

The city's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “Delhi has done it!”

“I would have expected to catch at least dozens in the first half an hour, but surprisingly most people are obeying," said Ankit Kumar, a traffic policeman.

In the first day of application, most of the time the police did not apply the $30 fine that was announced earlier.

According to a 2014 WHO survey, Delhi was the most polluted city among over 1,600 cities around the world, partly because of the 8.5 million vehicles on its roads.

The air pollution above the recommended WHO levels put people at an additional risk of having serious,long-term health problems.

The tiny, inhalable particles within the air are small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs and cause great damage within the body and lead to diseases that include lung cancer.

Pollution cutting plans will also include shutting some coal-fired power plants and vacuuming roads to reduce dust.

India's Supreme Court has recently ordered a temporary ban on large new diesel cars in Delhi and doubled diesel trucks’ taxes.


TRTWorld and agencies