Green experts hail move
The Delhi government’s decision to place Beijing-like vehicular restrictions from January 1 today got a near unanimous welcome from green experts, most of whom stressed that the situation called for “drastic measures”.
Director General of Centre for Science and Environment Sunita Narain said the move, that will have implementation challenges, was imperative as the city’s air pollution has reached the level of “public emergency”.
Chief Project Scientist of the Centre’s System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) Gufran Beig said it would lead to a reduction in Vehicle kilometres travelled (VKT) (one vehicle travelling one kilometre).
In a radical step to curb alarming air pollution, the AAP government on Friday restricted plying of private vehicles bearing odd and even registration numbers to alternate days from January 1 in the national Capital.
“VKT is going to come down as a result of the regulations and subsequently diesel and petrol burning would be reduced.This is a welcome move,” he said.
Anumita Roychowdhury of CSE, who has been working on ways and means to mitigate pollution in Delhi, said people should welcome the move as it was time to put “chest beating and complaining” to measures on the ground.
“Similar initiatives have worked in places such as Beijing and Mexico city who have also been grappling with high levels of pollution. Some other cities like London and Stockholm have gone for congestion pricing and Hong Kong for parking restrictions,” she said.
Narain said that he “appreciates” the fact that it is going to be very difficult to implement the measure but let the government implement it because in Delhi we need a “strong and a forceful government”.
“I am wondering why we are waiting for January 1. We should begin this right away because we have to take emergency actions for emergency situations. I would definitely like to welcome and would like to state that Delhi’s air pollution has reached the public health emergency level,” she said.
Roychowdhary said the government should now focus on chalking out a strategy on how it will strengthen the public transportation sector and make announcements in this regard to make the public aware.