Efforts on real-time monitoring of pollution are welcome, but the government of the national capital needs to do much more
There is a need to steer vehicle-buyers towards electric vehicles and move more households towards sustainable power/fuel consumption.
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.