Odd-even Policy: Civil Services Mentor Magazine - March - 2016


According to a report by central for science and environment, poor air quality is responsible for 10000 to 30000 deaths in Delhi per year. Death caused due to respiraty problems and asthama are maximum in India. Delhi is one of the most polluted cities across the world. In a survey conducted by WHO among world’s 1600 cities, it was found out that Delhi has worst air quality among any major city. Children and old age face the maximum problem due to poor quality of air. According to an estimate almost half of the children in Delhi faces irreversible damage in lungs due to poor quality of air. Not only all our metropolises with a high density of roads but also tier II and III cities—like Patna, Gwalior, Raipur—are excessively polluted. These three cities already rank as the topmost polluted cities in the world after Delhi; 13 out of 20 world’s most polluted cities are from India. Government has developed Air Quality Index to look for the quality of Air. Particulate matter PM10 (particles smaller than 10 microns) and PM2.5 (particles smaller than 2.5 microns, CO, NO2, O3, SO2 and NH3 are part of Air quality index.

The world’s average PM10 levels, for the period 2008 and 2013, based on data of 1600 cities in 91 countries, range from 26 to 208 micrograms per cubic meter of air (ìg/m3), with the world average being 71 ìg/m3. 13 of the 25 cities worldwide with the highest levels of PM are in India. In 2010, the year of the WHO survey, the average PM10 level in Delhi was 286. In 2013, the PM2.5 level was 153. These levels are considered very unhealthy. For comparison, the PM10 and PM2.5 levels in London were 22 and 16 respectively. In December–January 2015, in Delhi, an average PM2.5 level of 226 was noted by US embassy monitors in Delhi. The average in Beijing for the same period was 95. Safe levels for PM according to the WHO’s air quality guidelines are 20 ìg/m3 (annual mean) for PM10 and 10 ìg/m3 (annual mean) for PM2.5.

In order to controll this increaing worsning quality of Air, Central Govt., Delhi Govt. and NGT has come up with various steps. These steps include:

  • NGT banning 10 year old diesel vehicles in Delhi
  • Central government reducing number of lights onthe road and reducing travel time by building better road.
  • Delhi government came up with odd-even formula to in which odd number plate four wheelers were allowed to drive only on odd date and similarily for even number plate.

Experiment similar to Delhi has been done by many other cities across the world for reducing the air pollution. Cities in Chile, Mexico, Ecuador and China have done similar experiments to decrease the level of pollution in their country.

Thre are lot of sources which contribute towards the air pollution. Vehicular pollution coontribute a major portion towards air pollution. Along with vehicles other things which contribute towards air pollution are:

  • construction site, rapid urbanisation increase the pollution due to construction site;
  • industries, in every major city polluting industries are present which increase nitrogenous as well as other pollutants;
  • road dust, coal-based tandoors and concrete batching are also major sources of air pollution in Delhi.

The study has estimated the total PM10 emission load in the city at 143 tonnes per day and listed the top contributor as road dust (56%) and the PM2.5 load at 59 t/d, the top contributors being road dust (38 %) and vehicles (20 %), followed by domestic fuel burning and industrial point sources.

Under the Odd-Even scheme Cars with odd number plates will be allowed only on odd dates, and even ones on even dates. On Sundays, all cars will be allowed. In case of violation, violator has to give a fine of rupees 2000. However lot of exemptions are given like vehicles associated with emergency services— ambulances, hearse vans, etc, will be exempt. Very important persons (VIPs) will be exempted from this rule , CNG cars are exempted from this rule, two-wheelers and cars driven by women (either alone or with children under 12 years of age) are also exempted. According to Delhi Traffic Police data, there are about 10 million registered vehicles in the city, including nearly 125,000 autorickshaws, of which 2.6 million are cars, cars account for only 10 per cent of Delhi’s pollution level.

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