Odd-even vehicle rationing scheme back in Delhi to tackle air pollution

A drop in air temperature favours the PM 2.5 to stay near the ground, trapped under the dense cold air. The PM 2.5 enters human body through lungs and damages the inner lining of arteries, thus making it easier for Covid-19 to cause further damage to the respiratory system.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday (September 13) announced that the odd-even scheme to ration vehicles will be implemented in Delhi after Diwali, from November 4 to November 15, to reduce air pollution.

The odd-even scheme was introduced in Delhi in 2015. It was enforced twice when vehicles having odd and even number plates were allowed to operate on alternate days when the quality of air went down.

The scheme is one of the emergency measures taken by the Delhi government to deal with air pollution under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

Studies showed that the odd-even scheme reduced pollution by 10 per cent to 13 per cent. Delhi is one of the cities with the worst air quality in the world, and its residents have been battling health issues due to the presence of smog during winter over the past few years.


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Kejriwal said the government’s seven-point action plan to combat air pollution was caused due to crop burning and vehicular pollution. Some of the measures introduced were afforestation, mechanized sweeping of roads, distribution of masks, and provision of special attention to the 12 spots in Delhi that are most prone to air pollution.

In November last year, just after the air quality in Delhi saw visible improvement after Diwali, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) recommended the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to either implement the odd-even scheme or impose a complete ban on non-CNG private vehicles if the air pollution level in Delhi increase again.

The scheme, however, has only been limited to cars, although there have been demands to bring two-wheelers under its purview. In September 2018, the Supreme Court put a stay on the National Green Tribunal 2017 order under which the latter had directed that the scheme be made applicable to two-wheelers too in Delhi.