New Delhi: Contrary to popular hopes and believes, the first day of implementation of AAP government’s odd-even scheme has shown negative results on account of levels of pollution. Even though, it was a thumbs up from the social media, reports show that the levels of pollutions to be on a higher side than most of the days.
According to a study conducted by the National Air Quality Index (NAQI), Delhi’s air on Friday was of a ‘very poor’ quality, citing Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 and PM 10 as the ‘prominent pollutant(s). The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR) by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, also labeled Delhi’s PM 2.5 level on Friday as ‘very poor’. Of the several stations the institute monitored in Delhi, T3 Airport Terminal fared the worst on Friday with an index of 425.
As per the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) hourly data, the most polluted spot was recorded as Anand Vihar in Delhi that read 923 Ãg/m3 PM 10 level at 7 30 pm. And these readings were taken near the closing time of the odd-even car rationing scheme 8 pm. This is nine times the normal level of 100 Ãg/m3. PM 2.5 read at 480 Ãg/m3 is eight times the normal level of 60 Ag/m3.
Despite, the vehicle emission being a key source for carcinogenic PM as per a recent brought out by IIT Kanpur on Delhi’s air pollution. Although majority of private offices remained closed on Friday, the quality of air was far from normal. The level of pollution, as attributed by environmentalist was due to the number of exemptions given by the Delhi government to the two-wheelers that pollute more than cars.
“Estimates show that two-wheelers because of their staggering numbers (55 lakh bikes in the city) contribute as much as 31 per cent of the total particulate load from vehicles. If this segment is left out and with a sizeable number of cars also being driven by women, who have been exempted, the overall effectiveness of the programme is compromised,” said Anumita Roy Chowdhry, Executive Director at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
“The government cannot rely on the odd-even plan forever. It will have to strategize further, bring in newer ideas like hiking parking charges, improving public transportation etc to reduce air pollution,” she added.
The AAP government, which hailed the odd-even policy day as a grand success, acknowledged that the city air wasn’t safe still. “The levels are still up three to four times.” He was pointing at the digital display screen flashing real-time air quality data installed outside the secretariat. “Imagine if you are five feet tall. You are standing in water that is 15 feet in height, which means that it still three times above your tolerable level,” Satyendra Jain, Health Minister.
At 2 pm on Friday, there was a rise in the PM 2.5 as compared to data from previous days. Dr Gufran Beig, Senior Scientist and Project Director, SAFAR, IITM (Pune) said that in Delhi, PM 2.5 levels started to reduce sharply in the morning hours, but the drive tome from 8 am to 2 pm, showed a fall of merely 10 per cent fall. This was probably a sign of reduced vehicular emissions from the odd-even plan. Yet, after 2 pm there was an increase in PM 2.5 as compared to data from previous days.
“Why this happened needs to be examined scientifically. Probably, maximum temperature levels played a role,” he added while asserting that it is still premature to conclude anything with just 10 hours of data available for comparison.