Efforts on real-time monitoring of pollution are welcome, but the government of the national capital needs to do much more
Pollution being the national capital’s great ailment, the need for dynamism in treating it has always been sizeable. The Delhi government’s step to engage IIT-Delhi, IIT-Kanpur and TERI for real-time tracking of pollution, thus, is a welcome measure. While the national capital has already installed air quality monitoring devices at different places across the city, under the new tracking, the government would set up a super site and a mobile site to find out sources of pollution in real-time. The sites would try to determine the chemical composition of particulate matter and determine what steps are needed to bring down their concentration.
While the government had awarded a similar project, for Rs 1.2 crore, in 2018 to the University of Washington, it has now cancelled that project as a government-appointed panel had found shortcomings. The new project has come at a 10X cost escalation, at Rs 11 crore. But, good intentions on monitoring notwithstanding, the government has to incentivise the use of greener alternatives and fix pinching penalties for polluters; else, all these efforts would mean little. There is a need to steer vehicle-buyers towards electric vehicles and move more households towards sustainable power/fuel consumption. Given 80% of Delhi’s energy mix is accounted for by coal, the national capital also needs to focus on renewable generation.