Why most measures taken to tackle pollution (in NCR) are episodic rather than strategic responses?

Published: October 26, 2018

Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world. To address this crisis there is a need of a strong policy support.

Measures taken to address the pollution crisis

  • Regulating the use of firecrackers.
  • Odd-even restrictions.
  • SC ban on 2,000 cc+ diesel engines which was later lifted.
  • Aiding mechanization of harvesting to prevent stubble burning.
  • Mechanized sweeping and water-sprinkling of roads.

Why episodic responses not make much difference

  • Odd-even didn’t make much impact because vehicles accounted for around 9% of the city’s pollution and just a tenth was due to 4-wheelers that were affected by odd-even restrictions.
  • Road dust contributes 56% and 38% of Delhi’s PM10 and PM2.5 pollution; industries including power plants are responsible for over 50% of the NOx pollution.
  • Crop stubble burning in Haryana and Punjab adds considerably to NCR.

Tackling pollution

  • The sides of the roads could be paved or covered with grass that holds the soil together and stops the production of the dust
  • Improving the efficiency and efficacy of public transport will aid in reducing the vehicular density on roads.
  • Completing the peripheral highways around the capital to lower the movement of trucks into Delhi region.
  • Improving the waste management practices so that the garbage dumps are not fired. There has to be a comprehensive solution for segregating and processing waste.
  • The initiatives for mechanization for harvesting must be further expanded to reduce the stubble burning to zero.

Short-term solutions like green-crackers and community fireworks may help, but only as a few short gasps. There is a need of a comprehensive strategic policy to address the challenge of pollution.

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