DELHI’S AIR POLLUTION: NEED OF STRICT REMEDIAL MEASURES
New Delhi has been ranked 11th most polluted city in the world (WHO report 2016). 2 year before, in 2014, the city was ranked 1st in term of air pollution in the world. The problem of polluted air is not limited in and around Delhi; Out of 20, there are 13 Indian cities having most polluted air in the world.
It’s encouraging to experience the decreased pollution level in Delhi which can be attributed to different initiative taken by the Delhi government. Some of those were ODD/EVEN formula, check on diesel vehicle, ban on burning of bio masses, conversion of diesel commercial vehicles into CNG.
Its matter of relief and rejoice for the people and government of Delhi that air pollution level come down. But, decrease in pollution rank of the city alone does not guarantee the safe air; if we look at the current level of pollution the situation remain still grim. The annual pollution level at mean PM 2.5 level for Delhi has come down from 153 microgram per cubic meter to 122 microgram per cubic meter (WHO report 2016). PM 2.5 and PM 10 refer mostly to particles of dust, smoke and gaseous pollutants under 2.5 microns and 10 microns in size. WHO safe limit for annual mean of PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels are 10 and 20 microgram per cubic meter respectively.
The data clarifies that the city needs more stringent and effective measures to bring the air pollution level to safety limits. As per the WHO’s air quality guidelines, by reducing particulate matter (PM10) from 70 to 20 micrograms per cubic metre, air pollution-related deaths could be reduced by roughly 15 per cent. Not only deaths, the air pollution also causes several major and minor health problems like cardiovascular disease, lung disease, cancer, nervous system, etc.
The reduction of air pollution is for sure not an easy task. The cause for air pollution in India is manmade as well as natural. Manmade sources of pollution includes smoke of power plants, factories, burning of woods, biomasses and dung, motor vehicles, air and marine transportation, gases from weapons, rocketry tests and many more. Natural sources of pollution include dust from land with less vegetations, smoke from occasional forest fires, vegetations, etc. In both the sources, manmade pollutants are more in quantity and severe in effects.
The pollution level of different cities in India are so high that there needs an urgent implementation of stringent and serious program from the government. If we look into North American and European countries, the air quality level has been significantly improved post 90’s. Indian can easily adopt an improved methodology to solve the air pollution level.
Initiative taken by Mexico City to control emissions was relatively successful. In the 1990s, the government introduced air quality improvement programs — PIICA and PROAIRE — that included:
1. A rotating one-weekday ban on private car use.
2. On days of high pollution, the ban extended to every second day.
3. Car owners must have their vehicles certified every six months.
Few measures are already adopted by government of Delhi and have shown successful result. It should also be implemented to other cities of India also as 13 amongst 20 cities in India are most polluted cities in the world.