Monday March 30, 2020
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Rationing Delhi’s roads seem to be difficult without strong public transport system: Experts

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New Delhi: As the Delhi government on Friday decided to ration Delhi’s roads by allowing even and odd vehicles to ply on alternate days, environmentalists expressed their doubts on the implementation of the policy with no strong public transport system.

The decision, taken at a meeting presided over by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, will not apply to CNG-driven buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws but will also cover vehicles entering Delhi from other states.

Vikrant Tongad, an environmentalist working with Delhi-based Social Action for Forest and Environment also expressed his concerns regarding this

Implementation of this policy is going to put an extreme lot of pressure on both the government and the car drivers. When we do not have a strong public transport system, how can we expect everyone to adhere to this,

The city has been allowing some outdated trucks and public buses which also contribute to pollution in significant amounts and there needs to be the check on all these too before private vehicles are targeted, Tongad said.

He apprehended the success of implementing this policy and said if public transport was in a strong shape in the city, people would be deterred from using their personal vehicles.

This policy – like the one taken in Beijing in 2013 – will apply to a large bulk of the some 90 lakh vehicles registered in Delhi, where about 1,500 new vehicles are added every day.

Delhi’s vehicular population – which cause choking jams on all weekdays – includes some 27 lakh cars.

Echoing similar views, Sugato Sen, an automobile expert, said: “There are many who can afford a second car in the city if they need. This policy could work against what it is meant for.”

The government needs to give alternatives – like a foolproof public transport, well-knit metro routes- before making such moves, Sen said, adding replicating Beijing’s ways is not always the solution.

Beijing, though, has a high vehicular population, and has managed to fight its pollution with its strong public transport system, he said.

The decisions came a day after the Delhi High Court said that the national capital was like a gas chamber, and sought immediate action from the central and Delhi governments.

Delhi recently replaced Beijing’s spot of being the city with the filthiest air in the world. According to the Central Pollution Control Board, the air quality of Delhi is said to be “very poor” on any day, with an average air quality index of 331.

When the air quality index ranges between 301 and 400, the air is said to cause respiratory illness on prolonged exposure.

(Inputs from IANS)

(Picture Courtesy:-www.livemint.com)

 

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Researchers Develop New Framework To Select Best Trees For Fighting Air Pollution

Air pollution is responsible for one in every nine deaths each year and this could be intensified by projected population growth

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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. Pixabay

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.

Air Pollution, Global Warming, Mask, Doctor, Protection
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. Pixabay

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.

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“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)