Car-Free Day ‘proved’ fewer vehicles lower pollution: CSE

The second Car-Free day organised by Delhi government has “proven” that restricting vehicles cut pollution as PM 2.5 levels in the selected Dwarka stretch were “half” compared to what was observed at the Dhaula Kuan area, where no such restrictions were put, a green body has said.

Monitors of the Centre for Science and Environment, a green NGO, said that there was a significant difference in pollution exposure level, “as much as 50 per cent”, between Dwarka’s car-free stretch and the heavy-traffic stretch between Dhaula Kuan and Patel Chowk on Sunday.

“During the car-free event, the PM2.5 level was 335 microgramme per cubic metre (cum) in Dwarka. This was much lower than the levels observed in the heavy traffic stretch between Dhaula Kuan and Patel Chowk where PM2.5 levels were 645 microgramme per cum,” CSE said in a statement.

The Delhi government on Sunday held the second ‘Car-Free Day’ in Dwarka on the road stretch between Sector 3-13 and Sector 7-9, which witnessed a cycle rally led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and participation of school children, and officials.

The initiative of the Delhi government has helped to prove once again that if vehicle numbers are controlled, pollution can be lowered significantly, Anumita Roy Chowdhury, Executive Director of CSE said.

CSE also said that there was reduction in ambient pollution levels of the city citing figures collated by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to buttress its claim that less cars equal less pollution.

“On November 21, the average PM 2.5 level for the comparable hours was 226 microgramme per cubic metre and today it had dropped to 177 microgramme per cum. November 22 being a Sunday there was a significant reduction in overall traffic volume in the city,” it said.

CSE’s real-time exposure monitoring is different from the ambient monitoring that the government does as the former captures the pollution on road and roadside that is influenced by direct emissions from vehicles within our breathing zone. This is normally higher than the ambient level. 
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