In the wake of rising air pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi has declared the stretch between Red Fort and India Gate ‘car-free’ from 7 am till noon on October 22. But one question lingers, “is Delhi ready for it 1st car-free day?”
The state government’s intensive campaign for traffic decongestion and reduction in air pollution, titled “Ab Bus Karen,” may be a humble beginning towards getting people to use public transport, but many feel that the decision to observe a car-free day on Dussehra is “hasty and impractical” as doing so would cause chaos.
On being asked about their take on this initiative, only few people were happy and showed support by agreeing to give up their cars for a day, while others countered the government’s stance asking whether or not it will be of any help.
Claiming that this initiative will not bear any fruit, the auto-drivers and rickshaw pullers were less enthusiastic about the whole thing. Tourists were more worried about the “inconvenience” and less excited about Delhi’s big step in the fight against pollution.
The government also proposed a cycle rally on the same day on the car-free zone. To gauge the result of the campaign, the pollution level of the stretch from Red Fort to India Gate will be checked before and after observing the car-free day.
The inspiration comes from Gurgaon, which held its first car-free day on September 22, known on the Internet as World Car Free Day, in a bid to lower pollution and emphasise on the need to promote use of cycle and carpooling.
Delhi has recently become the face of air pollution, which is caused mainly by industry and vehicular traffic, putting as many as 10,000 people at ‘premature death by breath’ risk per year.
With Delhi faring poor in the air quality ranking, numerous initiatives are being taken to control the city’s air pollution levels. The only problem existing is the lack of information on air quality and precautionary measures. The process of tackling this problem is incomplete till people are aware and are ensuring precautionary measures.