The Supreme Court on Friday said in spite of Odd-Even vehicle rationing scheme, pollution has reached a severe level, and again called the Chief Secretaries of Delhi, Punjab, Harayana and Uttar Pradesh, to report on measures taken to curb air pollution particularly related to stubble burning.
A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said, “Do not give exemption to two-wheelers, and it will work.”
During the hearing, the judges scrutinized the Odd-Even scheme of the Delhi government in respect of air quality index data gathered in the past two years. The judges queried the Delhi government counsel, senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, what purpose the scheme served by keeping out cars which contribute mere three per cent of the total pollution.
The court observed that Delhi’s local pollution is a major problem, if stubble burning which contributes 40 per cent is kept out.
“According to the authorities, stubble burning has reduced to somewhere near five per cent now…we are concerned about Delhi’s local air pollution. What is the government doing?”
The court observed the data presented by the authorities suggest the Odd-Eeven scheme had hardly any effect on improving air quality. “Question is what are you gaining by this scheme?” observed the court.
Further commenting on the social aspect of the Odd-Even scheme, the court said “Odd-Even will only affect the lower middle class but not the affluent ones since they have multiple cars… Odd-Even isn’t a solution, but public transport could be. But nothing has been done about that”, said the court.
The hearing on the matter will continue on November 25. (IANS)
Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have developed a new framework for selecting the best trees for fighting air pollution that originates from our roads.
In a study, published in the journal Climate and Atmospheric Science, researchers from the University of Surrey conducted a wide-ranging literature review of research on the effects of green infrastructure (trees and hedges) on air pollution.
“We are all waking up to the fact that air pollution and its impact on human health and the health of our planet is the defining issue of our time,” said study researcher Prashant Kumar, Professor at the University of Surrey in the UK. “Air pollution is responsible for one in every nine deaths each year and this could be intensified by projected population growth,” Kumar added.
The review found that there is ample evidence of green infrastructure’s ability to divert and dilute pollutant plumes or reduce outdoor concentrations of pollutants by direct capture, where some pollutants are deposited on plant surfaces.
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As part of their critical review, the researchers identified a gap in information to help people – including urban planners, landscape architects and garden designers – make informed decisions on which species of vegetation to use and, crucially, what factors to consider when designing a green barrier. To address this knowledge gap, they identified 12 influential traits for 61 tree species that make them potentially effective barriers against pollution.
Beneficial plant properties include small leaf size, high foliage density, long in-leaf periods (e.g. evergreen or semi-evergreen), and micro-characteristics such as leaf hairiness. Generally detrimental aspects of plants for air quality include wind pollination and biogenic volatile organic compound emissions.
In the study, the team emphasised that the effectiveness of a plant is determined by its environmental context – whether, for example, it will be used in a deep (typical of a city commercial centre) or shallow (typical of a residential road) street canyon or in an open road environment.
To help concerned citizens with complex decisions, such as which tree is best for a road outside a school in a medium-sized street canyon, the research team has also developed a plant selection framework. “The use of green infrastructure as physical barriers between ourselves and pollutants originating from our roads is one promising way we can protect ourselves from the devastating impact of air pollution,” Kumar said.
“We hope that our detailed guide to vegetation species selection and our contextual advice on how to plant and use green infrastructure is helpful to everyone looking to explore this option for combatting pollution,” he added. (IANS)