The Delhi government Thursday launched an awareness campaign asking people to turn off the ignition at traffic signals to reduce the level of ultrafine particulates released through tail pipes of vehicles. Addressing a webcast, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the campaign was being launched as it has been observed that people do not turn off engines at signals, causing large scale toxic emissions. “In Delhi, we have around 1 crore registered vehicles; even if 10 lakh vehicles practice this, the pollution situation will improve inside the capital. According to experts, through this initiative, PM 10 may decrease by up to 1.5 tonnes and PM 2.5 may decrease by 0.4 tonnes,” Kejriwal said.
IIT Kanpur, in a study commissioned by the Sheila Dikshit government, had estimated the total PM 10 emission load in the city at 143 tonnes per day and listed the top contributor as road dust (56%), and the PM 2.5 load at 59 tonnes/day, with the top contributors being road dust (38%) and vehicles (20%).
To contain dust pollution, the Delhi government recently launched its annual crackdown on major construction sites flouting green norms.
Addressing the webcast, Kejriwal also said avoiding idling will also help save fuel, a concept which will also be explained to people as part of the government’s awareness campaign.
“Experts have noted that when a car is in the idling mode, it emits a lot more pollutants than when the car is travelling. By avoiding idling, one can also save more fuel. On an average, a car in Delhi spends around 15-20 minutes at signals on a daily basis, which causes consumption of at least 200 ml fuel. Switching off engines will help a person save up to Rs 700 per month,” the CM said.
Stressing on the need to follow the government directions, Kejriwal said these steps are needed to offset the build-up of pollutants in the air, especially during winters when particles get trapped near the ground due to meteorological conditions such as low temperature, fog and drop in wind speed, among others.
“I will request every citizen, bus drivers, auto drivers, and others to cooperate in this campaign. In the coming days, we will also launch a massive awareness campaign regarding this. We are living through a pandemic and if the pollution level increases now, the situation can worsen,” the CM warned.
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