IT HAPPENS ONLY IN INDIA,
GREAT JOB MR. PARMAR
it is good to eat as many as vegetables and fruits (totally vegetarian), but my aurvedic doctor asked me to stop eating every...
|Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Beijing. Has he brought back a message for Delhi?|
Back in India the capital city of Delhi, which is gearing up to host the Commonwealth Games in 2010, confronts the same challenges as Beijing does. The report of the Commonwealth Games Evaluation Commission says moving around Delhi is difficult--a "risk factor". It further says the venues and the games village will include "environmental considerations related to micro environment and other such parameters as air, water and noise pollution".
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent visit to Beijing and his appraisal of the preparations for the Olympic Games have brought Delhi's pollution challenge under the spotlight. The Prime Minister's Office is already fretting over tardy progress.
Both the cities face serious pressures to clean up the air. And both have unique challenges.
Delhi has taken action on many fronts to clean its air.None of this will work unless it jettisons its car-centric mobility paradigm
Delhi has been taking action in nearly all sectors to control air pollution for the past decade or so. It has relocated polluting industrial units; moved quickly to Euro III emissions standards for vehicles; all its buses, and three-wheelers run on cng; 15-year-old commercial vehicles are gone; incoming freight traffic is restricted, in-use inspection of vehicles has improved; the numbers of three-wheelers are frozen; controls on power plants are tighter with the mandate to use washed coal; generator sets have to meet emissions standards; and open burning of leaves is banned.
Yet the stringency and scale of action do not match that of Beijing. This is showing up in the air quality. If Beijing's criteria of blue skies are applied to Delhi's pollution levels, Delhi will be nowhere near Beijing. Beijing is on the road to meeting 256 days of blue sky in 2008--in contrast, in Delhi out of 298 days monitored in 2007 upto October 31, pm10 levels met standards only on 52 days. Delhi has only been able to lower pollution peaks and stabilize pollution.
The big gains are evident in substantial dip in the levels of so2and co. But particulate levels are increasing after a few years of respite and nox levels are on the rise. The city must take steps to reverse these losses fast.
The soft options have been exhausted in Delhi. The next stage needs to involve tough action. While there is need for significantly more clean and efficient vehicle technologies, Delhi's traffic challenge can be more difficult than Beijing's. The motley mix of vehicles on Delhi's roads makes it more difficult. While Beijing registers 1,200 cars a day, Delhi registers nearly 1,000 vehicles a day. Of these, 308 are cars with at least 30 per cent of them running on poor quality diesel, and 654 are two-wheelers, for which a different set of standards has to be maintained. The current emissions and fuel quality standards are weak allowing polluting technologies to remain in use.
It is not just Delhi's own fleet. Vehicles from surrounding towns that come into the city add to the pollution. On some arterial roads,
vehicles originating outside Delhi can constitute as much as 75 per cent of the volume of traffic during the peak hours--and these are mostly personal vehicles. Just as little has been done to boost public transport within the city, little thought and investment has gone into building a good public transport network to connect Delhi and the growing cities of the National Capital Region.
Yet Delhi stands a better chance of combating vehicular pollution because use of public transport is still high in the city.
Buses already cater to more than 60 per cent of its commuting needs. If this ridership is protected and scaled up with improvements in the public transport system, Delhi can make a difference. Beijing's experiment to pull out a million cars as an emergency measure and the Shanghai model of restricting car ownership show that Delhi will have to make a sharp break with its current car-centric framework. Unless Delhi plans a leapfrog, blue sky days are unlikely to appear over the city.