Even or odd formula won’t help Delhi
Delhi’s air is now officially toxic. We reacted with barely concealed joy when news of the “airpocalypse” in China was published a few years ago, even though the air in India, especially Delhi, was not much better. It’s official now – air quality monitors are rolling in across the country confirming what many have long suspected – city air is killing you, and not very slowly either.
Doctors (and newspapers) now regularly urge you to leave Delhi, and if that’s not possible, you end up looking for solutions like air purifiers, face masks and air quality alarms .
(Also see: Sick and tired of coughing? These gadgets can help fight air pollution)
The Delhi government has rolled out a series of measures that can help in the fight against air pollution. He pledged Rs. 2 crore to startups that can tackle air pollution, and he also announced measures such as shutting down power stations, reducing the hours heavy vehicles can drive through the city and l street vacuuming to reduce the amount of airborne particles flying through the city. These are all important measures, and they should be commended, but they are not getting any attention because of another measure that the government has mentioned, which has caused a lot of controversy.
He announced that private vehicles would be allowed to drive every other day, depending on the license plate of the car. Some days only cars with even number plates will be allowed to drive, and other days it will be odd number plates.
(Also see: What PM Modi should do with the Swachh Bharat Tax)
Of course, the bickering and joking started immediately; people pointed out that these experiments had not been particularly successful in the past and added that pollution from vehicles is not one of the main causes of pollution. People have pointed out that cars don’t cause as much pollution as two-wheelers.
Others joked about getting a second license plate to keep changing or marrying someone whose car ends in a different number. Of course, what could really happen is that the number of registered cars will increase because many people will buy the second cheapest car they can get and then register it with a number that will allow them to stay on the road every day. This happened in Mexico and the result was that the pollution did not decrease at all.
People who do not live in Delhi or who do not have a job that absolutely requires them to have a car have also started to point out quite morally that the right to clean air is more important than the right to drive. The fact that taking my car away from me could significantly compromise my right to earn a living is not a consideration in this argument because it is their air, but my life.
The situation in Delhi is dire – many people have already started leaving due to inability to breathe these days. Incapacity for work will certainly speed up the process of people leaving the city.
Gadgets that can clean the air in our homes are certainly a start, but instead of odd-even formulas, major changes are now urgently needed.
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