Ex-NGT chief says odd to even try the scheme

The odd-even scheme was put into effect by the Delhi government between November 4 and November 15 for 12 hours everyday between 8 am and 8 pm. (Express photo by Amit Mehra)

Former National Green Tribunal chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar Wednesday said the Delhi government’s road-rationing scheme, which is currently enforced in the capital, is “itself odd, even to try”.

Calling air pollution the most vital issue at the moment, Justice Kumar said various sources contribute to it. “We emphasise a lot on vehicles. We try odd-even, which itself is odd, even to try. The ingredients of air pollution are not only vehicular pollution. There are 10 sources of air pollution... most dangerous is the burning of waste,” he said at an event Wednesday.

Other sources of air pollution include brick kilns, crop residue burning and unregulated construction activity, Justice Kumar said, adding that for 70% of the time in a day, Delhi’s roads are “bumper-to-bumper”.

“If you’re going to introduce something like 5,000 buses, where are they going to ply?... Why can’t we start destination buses? Why can’t we provide people incentives to do away with old vehicles?” Justice Kumar asked.

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) member secretary Prashant Gargava said the number of ‘good’, ‘satisfactory’, or ‘moderately’ polluted days in Delhi increased to 175 so far this year, as compared to 108 last year.

He added that as per studies, sulphur dioxide emissions from power plants convert into particles, whose contribution to air pollution “is almost 25-30%.”

Gargava said stubble burning has contributed almost 44-45% to air pollution in Delhi this year, and garbage dumping and burning also creates a problem for which a cleaning drive could be carried out in July, August or September, before air quality starts becoming ‘poor’.

“We must also quickly and heavily invest in public transportation... Involve private people in this. It’s not DTC (Delhi Transport Corporation) vis-a-vis private people. It must be together,” Gargava said.