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What the odd-even scheme achieved

January 15, 2016 11:19 IST

Delhi trafficPeak pollution controlled despite fog and adverse weather

  • Load of particulates and nitrous oxides from cars reduced by about 40%
  • Areas with higher car density recorded more improvement in air quality
  • Decongestion of roads, leading to better utilisation of vehicles and reduced travel time

OTHER POSSIBLE TEMPORARY MEASURES

  • Extending odd-even rule to two-wheelers
  • Shutting power plants and industries
  • Declaring school holidays

LASTING MEASURES THAT DELHI NEEDS

  • Congestion charges on the basis of time and location of travel
  • Tax benefits for CNG and electric vehicles
  • Phase out old vehicles
  • Timely completion of phase-III of Delhi Metro
  • Remove entry taxes for cabs, autos and buses within NCR cities
  • Rationalise taxes on buses
  • Substantially hike car parking charges
  • Expand bus fleet to 11,000 from around 6,000 at present
  • Build dedicated lanes for cyclists and pedestrians
  • Implement Bharat-VI emission norm by 2020
  • Islanding of Delhi by diverting trucks and commercial vehicles

JOBS UNDER THREAT

  • Personal drivers: Taking a car out on alternate days could mean fewer people hiring personal drivers
  • Parking attendants: Fewer cars and dwindling parking revenue could mean a cut on parking attendants

HOW POLLUTION CHANGED CITIES: A LESSON FROM HISTORY

  • 13th century:  Attempts to ban sea coal burning in London failed
  • 17th century: Smoke from coal burning corrodes London buildings
  • Late 19th century: Community campaigns against smoke start across UK and the US
  • Early 20th century: Winter smog kills many in industrial cities of Manchester, Chicago, Pittsburgh and others in the UK and the US, leading to public outcry
  • 1920: Air pollution ordinances in 175 US cities
  • 1940: Los Angeles with a million cars suffers massive smog and health impacts
  • 1948: Hundreds take ill and thousand impacted by smog in Donora, Pennsylvania
  • 1952: December smog kills more than 4,000 people in London
  • 1956: UK Clean Air Act passed
  • 1970: First comprehensive Clean Air Act in the US passed

Sources: Environmental history of Air Pollution and Protection, Stephen Mosley, UNESCO-EOLSS paper

2. A brief history of air pollution, Erica Rowell and Julie Rossman

http://www.worldsciencefestival.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/SMOG-infographic.jpg

"Air Pollution Goes Back Way Further Than You Think" Jim Morrison, Smithsonianmag.com

BS Bureau in New Delhi