Like the previous year, this year too, all signs are indicating that air quality could be equally bad, if not worse.
The Supreme Court in the year 2015 and 2016 had issued the orders to not allow trucks in Delhi which are not destined for the city. Taking the cognizance of the rising air pollution in the national capital, the apex court had also stressed on more stringent enforcement of rules to check polluting vehicles. However, the drivers believe that most rules are meant to be broken. A report by the Indian Express quoted Jignesh Kumar, driver of a 13-year-old truck as saying, “Option nahi hai koi aur. They send some trucks back, but that’s just for show. If you have money for a bribe, you can get in. Who is going to stop a truck carrying food meant for the city?” While South Delhi mayor Kamaljeet Sehrawat said, “Such things shouldn’t be happening. I will get it inspected.”
The Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) a year earlier had submitted a report to the Supreme Court suggesting that the air in Delhi after Diwali was the worst it had ever been. As per the report, it was 14 times worse than the norm, and surprisingly even worse than the ‘Great Smog of London in 1952’. This year too, all signs are indicating that the situation could be equally bad, if not worse, reported the Indian Express.
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Despite this, the Delhi government is hopeful. Here is what it will do:
• Anti-firecracker campaign is set to begin next week.
• Environment Minister Imran Hussain has directed officials to complete the installation of 20 new monitoring stations on time so that during winter and Diwali, the air quality can be measured efficiently.
• A senior official of the Delhi environment ministry was quoted as saying that odd-even scheme and shutting of schools will be done only on “severe or emergency air quality days”.
What are some Plans on hold:
• Intensify public transport – Delhi cabinet had approved a proposal to procure 2,000 new buses in September. However, the DTC needs 11,000 buses — it has not been able to buy new ones since 2009-10, when it procured 3,775 vehicles.
• Multi-level parking lots – The SDMC’s plan to construct multi-level parking lots to reduce congestion has also been derailed due to lack of land.
• Control construction dust – The SC had directed the repair and building of pavements and vacuuming of roads. But for Delhi’s extensive road network spanning 28,508 km, the SDMC has 12 mechanised sweeping machines, North has four and East has three.