Delhi embraces odd-even formula but it makes no difference to pollution levels

Even as most of the citizens residing in the National Capital Region (NCR) are diligently following the odd-even formula enforced by the Delhi government from 1 January, the pollution level is far from satisfactory.

A traffic policeman in Delhi on Friday, day one of implementing the odd-even formula. AFP

A traffic policeman in Delhi on Friday, day one of implementing the odd-even formula. AFP

"The Centre's own National Air Quality Index (NAQI) rated Delhi's air on Friday as 'very poor', citing Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 and PM 10 as the 'prominent pollutant(s)'. The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR) by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, also labeled Delhi's PM 2.5 level on Friday as 'very poor'."—said a Mail Today report.

Figures available with IndiaSpend, a data journalism initiative, show that the scheme which is mainly aimed at curbing the increasing pollution levels, has not shown the desired results so far.

As per the data collected at 4 pm on Saturday, the pollution level on the Ring Road, Outram Lines was 'very poor' at PM2.5:153 µg/m³PM10:222 µg/m³ with a threat of 'respiratory illness on prolonged exposure'.µg/m³ stands for micrograms per cubic metre. Areas like East Patel Nagar, Nizamuddin East, Chanakyapuri including the satellite city of Gurgaon shared a similar threat to health.

Pollution in the South Delhi locality of Vasant Kunj and the Rajpur Road in Civil Lines was even worse as the level in both these areas were marked as 'severe'. At 4 pm, the Rajpur Road in Civil Lines had a pollution level of PM2.5:307 µg/m³PM10: 506 µg/m³.

IndiaSpend warned that 'severe' level of pollution 'affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases.'

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Friday said that he was overwhelmed by the response of the people towards the 1-15 January trial run that seeks to allow on roads only odd-numbered four-wheeled vehicles on odd dates and even-numbered ones on even dates without any restrictions on Sundays.

"I am truly overwhelmed. There are very few even numbered cars on the roads," Kejriwal said.

Responding to the initial success on Friday, Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai had said: "It is more successful than what we had anticipated."

However, even with the overwhelming compliance of the odd-even scheme the pollution data reveals a different story and it should truly concern not the Delhi government alone but also those who live in the National Capital Region.

Data courtesy IndiaSpend.

Data courtesy IndiaSpend.

Published Date: Jan 02, 2016 07:10 pm | Updated Date: Jan 02, 2016 07:10 pm