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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The city has been allowing some outdated trucks and public buses which also contribute to pollution in significant amounts and there needs to be the check on all these too before private vehicles are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 Not Fatal But Could Reduce Life Expectancy By A Year

In countries like India and China, the benefit for elderly people of improving air quality would be especially large.

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Air pollution
Air pollution shortens life by more than one year in India. Wikimedia Commons

If air pollution were removed as a risk for death, people in the world could live at least a year longer and in India, which is battling a severe air pollution, the benefit would be even more — about 1.5 years, says study.

“Here, we were able to systematically identify how air pollution also substantially shortens lives around the world,” said lead researcher Joshua Apte from The University of Texas at Austin in the US.

“What we found is that air pollution has a very large effect on survival — on average about a year globally,” Apte added.

For the study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters, the researchers looked at outdoor air pollution from particulate matter (PM) smaller than 2.5 microns.

These fine particles that can come from power plants, cars and trucks, fires, agriculture and industrial emissions can enter deep into the lungs, and breathing PM2.5 is associated with increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, respiratory diseases and cancer.

Delhi air pollution
Stubble burning is one of the main reason behind heavy pollution in the Delhi and NCR region. Wikimedia Commons

The team used data from the Global Burden of Disease Study to measure PM2.5 air pollution exposure and its consequences in 185 countries.

They then quantified the national impact on life expectancy for each individual country as well as on a global scale.

“A body count saying 90,000 Americans or 1.1 million Indians die per year from air pollution is large but faceless,” Apte said.

“Saying that, on average, a population lives a year less than they would have otherwise — that is something relatable,” he added.

In the context of other significant phenomena negatively affecting human survival rates, Apte said this is a big number.

Also Read: How Auxillary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) in Remote Tribal Belts of Andhra Pradesh in India Have Brought Down Maternal Deaths to Zero

“For example, it’s considerably larger than the benefit in survival we might see if we found cures for both lung and breast cancer combined,” he said.

“In countries like India and China, the benefit for elderly people of improving air quality would be especially large. For much of Asia, if air pollution were removed as a risk for death, 60-year-olds would have a 15 per cent to 20 per cent higher chance of living to age 85 or older,” Apte said (IANS)