Less congestion in Delhi owing to the odd-even car rationing scheme is shielding people from “direct exposure” to pollutants, especially in and around areas of high car density such as traffic junctions, experts opine.
The experts unanimously endorse that a reduction in the volume of cars was simultaneously bringing down levels of gaseous pollutants like oxides of nitrogen, sulphur dioxide and black carbon, which is a mixture of road dust and vehicle fumes.
However, they also warn against expecting any dramatic reduction in the amount of respirable particulate matters, PM 2.5 and PM 10, which depend on a host of atmospheric parameters.
The measures aimed at curbing pollution came into force on 1 January. Dismissing murmurs that the pilot plan has yielded little gains until now, ecologists and urban planners contend while hostile weather conditions may be limiting the gains, it would definitely restrict the peak levels from spiraling out of hand.
Raj Cherubal of Chennai City Project said lesser congestion has proven that “there is space” on Delhi’s roads for buses and measures like BRTS, while Shreya Gadipalli of Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) said the policy has created a platform “for a dialogue”.
Anumita Roychowdhury of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said that a sharp drop of pollutants from the peak levels has been observed over the last few days and added, “When vehicles slow down due to congestion they emit more. Free flow of traffic helps prevent that.”
Over 1.5 lakh cars were added to the city’s roads this financial year along with 3.5 lakh bikes and scooters, taking the number of total registered vehicles whopping 88.