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Monday, December 06, 2021

Delhi air pollution: Delhi govt to increase number of buses to curb private vehicles

The Delhi government has also sent a proposal to the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) to allow standing passengers in buses and the Delhi metro.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: November 17, 2021 2:16:35 pm
While buses and metro are allowed to function at 100% capacity, standing passengers are not allowed as per DDMA rules.

Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot Tuesday said the Delhi government was in the process of hiring 1,000 private buses for a period of one month to “curb vehicular pollution”.

The Delhi government has also sent a proposal to the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) to allow standing passengers in buses and the Delhi metro.

While buses and metro are allowed to function at 100% capacity, standing passengers are not allowed as per DDMA rules.

“In order to curb vehicular pollution, Delhiites are requested to shift from personal vehicles to public transport. With a view to augment public transport Delhi govt is in the process of hiring around 1,000 private buses for a period of 1 month,” Gahlot said in a tweet.

“Owing to improved Covid situation & to control pollution from private vehicles, we’ve moved a proposal with the DDMA to allow standing passengers in buses and the Delhi Metro, to modify current order prohibiting the same. I request all Delhiites to cooperate and shift to public transport,” he said in another tweet.

According to several studies, the persistent sources of pollution in Delhi through the year are vehicular pollution and industrial pollution. According to Professor S N Tripathi from IIT Kanpur, the direct contribution of traffic to the city’s PM 2.5 concentration goes beyond 20%. “Vehicles also emit gasses which can turn into particulate matter over time as secondary particles. If that is considered, the contribution increases to around 25%,” he had told The Indian Express.

According to an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court by the Centre on Monday, the contribution of farm fires to PM 2.5 was around 4%. However, the minutes of the CAQM meeting held on Sunday state that the contribution was 35% to 40%.

After a meeting on pollution earlier in the day between the Centre and states, Delhi Environment Minister Rai said the Centre should clarify why two “conflicting facts” were presented.

“I am shocked that the Centre has said that the contribution of stubble in pollution is 4% on one page and 35 to 40 % on another… It is essential for the Centre to clarify as different strategies are needed to deal with both the situations and data must be taken seriously,” Rai said.

Delhi has already shut schools for a week and stopped construction and demolition activity as emergency measures.

Delhi’s air quality slipped back into the ‘severe’ category on Tuesday after two days of ‘very poor’ air. The AQI level was 403, with PM 2.5 and PM 10 as the primary pollutants.

According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the contribution of farm fires in the PM 2.5 concentration was 8% on Tuesday, down from 10% on Monday and a peak of 48% on November 7.

This is expected to dip further on Wednesday and Thursday, as winds blow in from the east, according to SAFAR’s forecast. Air quality in the city is expected to be in the ‘very poor’ to ‘severe’ range on Wednesday as well.

The deteriorating air has led to a blame game between Delhi and neighbouring states, with the top court taking cognizance of the issue.

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