From odd-even to aerial water sprinkling: How Delhi plans to tackle smog

Delhi Metro undertaking 180 additional trips from today and charging three times more as parking rates

A man takes protection against pollution as smog covers India Gate in New Delhi on Sunday. (Photo: PTI)
File photo: A man takes protection against pollution as smog covers New Delhi

Aiming to reduce life-threatening air pollution, which has rendered the city breathless for the past few days, the Delhi government inaugurated 20 ambient air quality monitoring stations on Thursday. 

Ambient air monitoring is a systematic assessment of pollutant levels by measuring quantity and types of certain pollutants in the surrounding air. Welcoming the move, several residents are hopeful that the move will provide some respite in their daily life. 

Delhi’s air quality index has breached the ‘severe’ category, with particulate matter (PM 2.5) crossing 450 microgrammes per cubic metre level. The Indian Medical Association described the condition as a "public health emergency". 

The locations of these air quality monitoring stations are:

1. Dhyan Chand Stadium

2. Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium

3. Dr Karni Singh Range, Asola

4. PGDAV College, Sriniwaspuri

5. Mother Dairy Plant, Patparganj

6. Satyawati College, GT Karnal Road

7. Mundka Metro Station

8. Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, Rohini

9. Industrial Training Institute (ITI) Narela

10. Sonia Vihar Water Treatment Plant

11. DITE Okhla  industrial area

12. Chaudhary Brahm Prakash Ayurved Hospital

13. Mahrshi Valmiki Hospital, Pooth Khurd

14. Chhatrasal Stadium, MG Road, Gujrawala Town Mukherjee Nagar

15. National Institute of Tuberculosis & Respiration, Kingsway Camp

16. Industrial Training Institute, near  Babu Jagjeevan Ram Hospital, Jahangirpuri

17. PUSA Institutional Area, New Delhi

18. IGNOU Main Road, MaidanGarhi, Saket

19. Football Federation, Dwarka

20. Delhi Cantonment General Hospital

Business Standard takes a look at how the pollution has affected people and what measures the government is planning to address the issue:

NGT bans construction, industrial work 

The National Green Tribunal banned construction and industrial activities that cause emissions till November 14. It also imposed a ban on the entry of diesel trucks more than ten years old and said that no vehicle from outside or within Delhi will be permitted to transport any construction material.

'Sprinkle water from choppers'

The irked green panel also directed the authorities to sprinkle water where PM 10 is found to be in excess of 600 micrograms per cubic metre from helicopters or aircraft to tackle dust pollution across the city. The government has also been told to form a special team to check fire incidents and ensure that there is no burning of waste in Delhi-NCR. (Click here to know more)

The odd-even rule is back

The odd-even car rationing scheme will be enforced in Delhi for a five-day period from November 13, city Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said on Thursday. Odd-numbered cars are allowed to run on odd dates while even-numbered cars can only run on even dates. (Read more)

Delhi Metro to run extra trains, hike parking fees

Delhi Metro announced that its trains will undertake over 180 additional trips from today and charge four times the prevalent parking rates to discourage use of private vehicles 

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation will be running 3,317 train trips from today instead of 3,131 to provide. (More details)

Schools have been shut

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia ordered all Delhi schools, government and private, to remain shut till Sunday. 

However, EPCA member Sunita Narain cautioned against putting too much hope in temporary solutions such as closure of schools and deplored the "lack of political will" in executing tougher decisions.

Paytm, HCL, other firms give pollution masks to employees

While experts had advised all Delhi residents to wear masks every time they step outside in 2016, it is only now that the same is being implemented, courtesy hazy smog.

Online aggregator Paytm is not only giving masks but offering flexible working hours so that employees can avoid the peak pollution in morning and evening. Similarly, information technology company HCL has issued a list of “do’s and don’ts” to its employees along with high-quality masks. (Full report)

Multinational companies such as PepsiCo and Coca-Cola and Indian fast-moving consumer goods major Dabur are not considering giving any leaves to their employees yet. Other firms cited their closed office environment as a safe haven for employees.

While estimating the impact of these measures is not possible currently, the aforementioned steps brings us a step closer to dealing with the cloud of pollution enveloping the atmosphere. Therefore, as winter is coming, embrace it outdoors with masks and indoors within closed windows and doors.