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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The city has been allowing some outdated trucks and public buses which also contribute to pollution in significant amounts and there needs to be the check on all these too before private vehicles are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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Air Pollution Raises Anxiety, Depression Risks in Kids, Says Study

Among those exposed to higher levels of traffic-related air pollution, there were significant increases of myo-inositol in brain compared with those with lower pollution exposure

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rahul gandhi, environment
A recent report had said that 22 of the world's 30 worst cities for air pollution are in India, with Delhi again ranking as the world's most polluted capital. VOA

A new evidence suggests air pollution is not just associated with asthma and respiratory diseases, but may also impact metabolic and neurological development of children, putting them at an increased risk of anxiety and depression, says a study.

“Recent evidence suggests the central nervous system is particularly vulnerable to air pollution, suggesting a role in etiology of mental disorders, like anxiety or depression,” said study lead author Kelly Brunst, Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati in the US.

“This is the first study to use neuro-imaging to evaluate exposure to traffic-related air pollution, metabolite dysregulation in brain and generalised anxiety symptoms among otherwise healthy children,” Brunst said.

For the study, published in the journal Environmental Research, the researchers evaluated imaging of 145 children at an average age of 12 years, looking specifically at levels of myo-inositol in brain through a specialised MRI technique, magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

India, air pollution, WHO, diwali, Pollution, Delhi, egypt, air quality
A bird flies past the Humayun’s Tomb shrouded in smog in New Delhi, India. VOA

Myo-inositol is a naturally-occurring metabolite, mainly found in specialised brain cells known as glial cells, which assists in maintaining cell volume and fluid balance in brain and serves as a regulator for hormones and insulin in the body. Rise in myo-inositol levels correlate with increased population of glial cells, which often occurs in states of inflammation.

Among those exposed to higher levels of traffic-related air pollution, there were significant increases of myo-inositol in brain compared with those with lower pollution exposure, researchers said.

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They also observed rise in myo-inositol to be associated with more generalised anxiety symptoms. “In the higher, recent exposure group, we saw a 12 per cent increase in anxiety symptoms,” said Brunst.

Brunst, however, noted that the observed increase in reported generalised anxiety symptoms in this cohort of typically developing children was relatively small and were not likely to result in a clinical diagnosis of an anxiety disorder. (IANS)