The Delhi government and Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on Thursday said the car-free zone in the capital witnessed a significant drop in suspended particulate matter levels. The data is based on the ambient air monitoring conducted by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), on the stretch between the Red Fort and India Gate, between 7 am to 12 pm.
According to the DPCC, the reduced pollution level was due to lower car usage, which in turn reduced traffic on th roads. “Pollution levels were 60 per cent lower than the levels observed in the same place, at the same time, yesterday,” said a government statement.
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CSE executive director, research and advocacy, Anumita Roychowdhury said the Delhi government has proved that the growing number of cars in Delhi aggravate toxic pollution. “If these numbers are controlled, pollution can be lowered significantly… it can help save lives and protect the lungs of our children,” said Roychowdhury.
According to the CSE, they carried out real-time exposure monitoring on the stretch from Red Fort to India Gate, which was earmarked for the half-day car-free event. Exposure monitoring captures the pollution on the road and the roadside which is influenced by direct emissions from vehicles within our breathing zone. This is normally higher than the ambient level.
CSE data also showed that at 7 am, when the car-free event started, the hourly average of PM 2.5 level was 384 microgramme per cu m. But by noon it dropped to 148 microgramme per micrograms per cubic metre (cu m) — as much as a 61 per cent drop. Cool weather conditions in the morning had trapped more pollution. By noon it had dissipated.