The Supreme Court appointed pollution watchdog EPCA said that Delhi’s air quality crisis was largely of its own making and there was no option but to restrict the use of private vehicles as the current improvement brought by showers is temporary at best.
Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority chief Bhure Lal wrote to the Central Pollution Control Board on Wednesday, asking it to consider steps regarding private vehicles, in the inevitable scenario that air pollution spikes.
Pointing out that ‘at best’ the air in Delhi was ‘very poor’, which has dire consequences for human health, Lal wrote, “We have no option but to consider measures that restrict private vehicles.”
Explaining the reasons for this, he noted that vehicles contribute as much as 40 per cent of the total emission load in Delhi and roughly 30 per cent in the region, according to SAFAR emission inventory. He added that even after removing trucks and other commercial vehicles that run on diesel, the remaining vehicles add up to a substantial load, particularly private diesel vehicles which contribute substantially to both NOx and PM emissions.
He added that “other cities like Paris or Beijing include restriction on private vehicles, which is done either by number plate or by fuel type/age”.
Lal further said that while the Supreme Court had identified vehicles by fuel type and age and directed for a vehicle scheme, which is yet to take off, the only option left was to “look at either a complete ban on all private vehicles (without the identification of petrol or diesel), other than CNG and/or restriction on plying by number plate (odd-even).”
However, he conceded that restriction on private vehicles without adequate public transport “creates huge inconvenience to people.”