Delhi: The Odds of Being the Most Polluted City In The World

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In what came as quite a shock to the people of Delhi, the AAP government led by Arvind Kejriwal announced that January onwards, vehicles ending in odd and even numbers will ply on alternate days of the week. Officials say even-numbered cars will be allowed to run on even days and odd-numbered ones on odd days.

The model is already in place in Beijing, ever since the Olympics took place there and also in other parts of the world that have high levels of pollution. The method, more commonly known as road space rationing, is followed in various forms across the world, though experts have said that implementation could prove to be a major challenge as well over two million vehicles would have to be kept off the roads every day.

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This decision has left most people in Delhi confused and rather panicked as it seems like an unfathomable imposition that they will be made to go through.  After all, we are talking about implementing a plan like this in a city like Delhi, a city that is notorious for flouting rules.

This decision came after Delhi was ranked as the world’s most populated city and faced major flak from the Delhi High court. Members of the transport department, environment department, the Delhi police and divisional commissioner will chalk out the implementation of the plan.

Delhi adds around 1500 cars daily to its roads and that brings it up to a total of 9 million registered in total. This is a major cause for the choking traffic jams on weekdays, when the capital sees almost 2.7 million cars on the road.

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The rise in pollution has led the government to take drastic step such as this. The new rule will not apply to CNG-driven buses, taxis, auto-rickshaws and emergency vehicles but will cover automobiles entering Delhi from other states.

Diesel guzzling trucks that are often seen on the roads after 9 pm, will only be allowed to ply on the city roads after 11pm. Many other such initiatives are being conceptualized- like strict measures against parking on the road, so as to ease traffic congestion, shutting down of inefficient and pollution causing thermal plants to reduce pollution in the capital city, which has taken over Beijing’s spot as the world’s most polluted city.

Many people have argued that the ban seems implausible in a city where people are not very inclined towards using public transport and commuting to their work places would turn to be a daunting task every single day.

The government proposes to enhance public transport connectivity and the travelling experience, as well as bring newer and cleaner fuel alternatives to city before other parts of the country. Till then, a person found violating the rule will be penalized by the authorities.

Similar moves in the past, such as ‘Car Free Tuesday’- where people were expected to travel only via public transport on a certain Tuesday of the month; haven’t really shown any significant results. Hence, a lot of people are apprehensive if the new rule will go down well with the people of the Capital.

While the intent behind the ban is justified, it is left to be seen how far it will go when it comes to executing and implementing it.

Shireen Azizi

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