Pollution levels of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 across Delhi showed a “consistent declining trend” due to the implementation of the odd-even rule, the Delhi government said Thursday. The government’s assertion came a day after the Delhi High Court questioned the impact of odd-even operations on pollution and asked it to consider restricting it to one week.
The latest set of ambient air data collected at 18 locations across Delhi through mobile dust samplers shows “a consistent trend of declining levels of PM 2.5 air pollution levels due to the implementation of odd/even rule for four-wheeled vehicles,” said the government.
“In December, PM 2.5 was at an average of 400 to 465 (six fixed pollution stations) . The data of 18 locations taken yesterday was less than 300. If you say that normal levels should be 40, then even 250 or 300 will seem like a lot. But this is not the measurement formula. In this weather, reports are always negative,” said Transport Minister Gopal Rai.
He added, “Had it not been for the odd-even policy, the (PM 2.5) levels would not be 250-300, they would be 450 to 500. I have spoken to a number of scientists, they have said that January has the most negative weather. If we take 250-300 as an average, then there is a drop of 100 points in PM 2.5 levels. This means there is a drop in pollution by about 25 percent”.
The 18 locations, where teams of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) collected pollution data with hand-held devices, showed that after 20-minute monitoring undertaken at each location, the PM 2.5 levels ranged between 161 to 294. The highest levels were recorded in Tajpur and the lowest in Dhaula Kuan.
He said that border areas are not being greatly affected by odd-even operations but the inner circle of Delhi is witnessing a positive impact. “When half the cars are off the roads, consumption of petrol and diesel has reduced by 40 per cent… because of that, the PM 2.5 levels have been contained. The fuel that was consumed over one hour now burns only for half-an hour. So half the fuel and half the time are affecting it,” said Rai.
Rai admitted that the six permanent pollution monitoring centres did not show a great drop in pollution levels but, he said, they were, nonetheless, on a decline. “Many are confused if this policy will continue till January 15 or not. We can’t have repeated trials. We want to gather sufficient data to assess its impact and decide on the future course of action. The odd-even policy will operate in Delhi till January 15. We will present all the facts sought by the court before it on Friday,” he said.
Rai clarified that PM 10 levels have nothing to do with vehicular pollution. Primary source of PM 10 air pollution at this time of the year, he said, is dust arising from various sources, including construction material, burning of leaves and other kinds of waste in the open and wind-blown dust.
Nowhere in the world can environmental pollution be controlled in 15 days, said the minister. “As many as 90 per cent of the people of Delhi have changed their mindset and that is the biggest achievement,” Rai said, adding that most of those found violating odd-even operations were “outsiders”.
Rai on public transport during odd-even ops
Metro running at a capacity of 32 lakh passengers, has room to accommodate 4 lakh more
DTC, cluster and private buses running empty except for about two peak hours.
Buses carrying 40-45 lakh passengers, can carry about 8 lakh more.
Challans issued on Thursday for odd-even violations: Traffic police and Enforcement Wing – 295, SDMs 185
Calls on the transport helpline till 2 pm on Thursday: 400
Total number of downloads of the Pooch-O mobile app for autos and taxis: 40,000
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