Action needs to be taken to minimize the use of private vehicles, which contribute nearly 40 per cent to air pollution in Delhi, a green body said Monday as the air quality of the national capital nosedived to severe category. Anumita Roychowdhury, an executive director at the Delhi-based think-tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said when the authorities are ramping up emergency actions on all sectors why should vehicles be spared. She said traffic would increase due to Diwali shopping until November 7 which would further worsen the air quality and action needs to be taken against the vehicles.
“The proposed action on private vehicles has to be seen within the larger context of how we are gradually ramping up emergency actions on all sectors. Today when we have gone to the extent of shutting power plants, brick kilns, hot mix plants and even gensets, the cars are actually coming last.
“So to say to make exception to cars is very wrong keeping in mind that all the new estimates are showing that private vehicles contribute towards 40 per cent of pollution,” Roychowdhury said during CSE’s Facebook Live programme on air pollution ‘Season of Smog’.
Delhi’s air quality deteriorated drastically to severe Monday.
The overall air quality index on Monday was registered at 418, a sharp decline from a day before when the AQI was moderate at 171. The Supreme-Court appointed Environment Protection Control Authority last week proposed a ban on use of private vehicles in case of further deterioration of air quality.
“Diwali marketing is going to intensify and we have to take action on vehicles and these are temporary measures. It also means that all of us have to take responsibility to take public transport,” Roychowdhury added. Roychowdhury also said people can play a crucial role in building up pressure on authorities and demand action from them.
“Public participation is critical to keep up pressure on public and demand action. People can also play a role in combating pollution by reducing footprint, car pooling, public transport and increasing use of cycles for transportation,” she said. A thick haze has engulfed the national capital two days ahead of Diwali, following which, experts have warned, the air quality is likely to worsen further due to local factors.