Air Quality Index Delhi: Odd-Even kicks off in National Capital; pollution levels remain in 'severe' category with AQI at 437

  • The air pollution crisis in Delhi and neighbouring National Capital Region (NCR) continued on Monday, with the Air Quality Index (AQI) docking at 437, according to Central Pollution Control Board's 9 am bulletin

  • The National Capital remained in the 'severe' category on Monday morning, day after the city records AQI of 494, the highest since 6 November 2016 when it was 497

  • The odd-even vehicle rationing scheme came into effect from 8 am on Monday and will be applicable from 4 to 15 November from 8 am to 8 pm

The air pollution crisis in Delhi and neighbouring  National Capital Region (NCR) continued on Monday, with the Air Quality Index (AQI) at 437, according to Central Pollution Control Board's 9 am bulletin. The National Capital remained in the 'severe' category on Monday morning, day after the city records AQI of 494, the highest since 6 November 2016 when it was 497.  The odd-even vehicle rationing scheme came into effect from 8 am on Monday and will be applicable from 4 to 15 November from 8 am to 8 pm. The rule will not be enforced on Sundays. Cars with registration numbers ending in an odd digit are allowed to ply on odd dates of the month and those with even digits ply on even dates.

On Monday, according to the data provided by air quality monitor SAFAR, major pollutants PM 2.5 and PM 10 were docked at 500. In the Lodhi Road area, Air Quality Index (PM 2.5) was measured at 703, Delhi University's level was at 695 while in Dhirpur, the number was 676.  According to the weather agency, Skymet, with PM 2.5 over 550, Sector 30 Gurugram recorded 'hazardous' air quality.

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A layer of smog was seen around ITO as Air Quality Index (AQI) remained at 434 (severe) in ITO, as per CPCB data. An AQI between 0-50 is considered "good", 51-100 "satisfactory", 101-200 "moderate", 201-300 "poor", 301-400 "very poor", and 401-500 "severe". Above 500 is "severe-plus emergency" category.

Odd-Even scheme

The Odd-Even road rationing scheme, an anti-pollution measure, kicked in from 8 am on Monday in the city, with chief minister Arvind Kejriwal urging people to follow it for the sake of their family and kids. Under the scheme, apart from exempted categories, only those non-transport four-wheeled vehicles will ply on the roads which have registration numbers ending with an even digit.

"Namaste Delhi, odd-even is starting from today to reduce pollution. Please do follow it for yourself, your family, kids and your breath. Share cars. It will strengthen friendship, form relations, save petrol and pollution," Kejriwal said in an early morning tweet in Hindi.

Violations of the Odd-Even rule will invite a fine of Rs 4,000. Over 600 teams of Delhi Traffic Police and the transport and revenue departments have been deployed for strict implementation of the scheme across the city.

 Air Quality Index Delhi: Odd-Even kicks off in National Capital; pollution levels remain in severe category with AQI at 437

layer of smog blankets the area around Rajpath, on Monday morning. ANI

Under the scheme, which will be implemented from 8 am to 8 pm till 15 November, non-transport four-wheeled vehicles with registration numbers ending with an odd digit (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) will not be allowed on the roads on 4, 6, 8, 12 and 14 November.

Similarly, vehicles with registration numbers ending with an even digit (0, 2, 4, 6, 8) will not be allowed on the roads on 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15 November.

Two-wheelers and electric vehicles have been exempted from the restrictions, but not CNG-driven vehicles.

Women-only vehicles with children aged up to 12 years and vehicles occupied by physically-disabled persons will also be exempted.

Twenty-nine categories of vehicles, including those of President, prime minister, emergency and enforcement vehicles, have been exempted. However, the vehicles of the Delhi chief minister and ministers will not be exempted.

The Delhi government's Odd-Even scheme so far has received mix reactions from common citizens. Many commuters on the road supported the scheme but also urged the government to take better and more stringent steps to combat the menace throughout the year.

"Definitely it (Odd-Even scheme) will make a difference. But it would be better if the government takes effective measures to stop the stubble burning. Most of the pollution is because of that, what will these 10 days of Odd-Even do?" a commuter asked ANI.

Another commuter riding on a two-wheeler advocated for the implementation of the scheme for throughout the year. "It will reduce traffic on the roads and things should get better after this. The arrangement should happen permanently instead of merely 10 days," said another commuter on a two-wheeler. It may be noted that two-wheelers are exempted from the odd-even scheme.

Some commuters also criticised the government's move stating that vehicular pollution was not the main reason for the poor air quality in Delhi. "Odd-Even scheme will do little to alleviate the problem. As per what I have read, the pollution in the city is primarily because of dust due to construction works. These measures won't help," said a Delhiite.

Posters criticising the Odd-Even scheme were also seen near ITO crossing, today morning. The Hindi poster which had no details of who commissioned them, read, "We do not need the drama of 'Odd-Even', we need a clean atmosphere. It has become difficult to breathe in Delhi."

Within a few hours of the scheme coming into the force, the traffic police also fined a driver for using an odd-numbered vehicle, on the even day near India Gate. The violator was issued a fine of Rs 4,000; however, he claimed to have no information about the scheme. Meanwhile, Delhi civil defence volunteers have also started an awareness campaign for Odd-Even in the National Capital.

The implementation of the scheme has also invited political criticism with senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Goel saying that he will hold a symbolic protest against the car rationing scheme and will ride through the streets of Delhi on Monday in his car to oppose the move. He termed the scheme as an "election stunt" and a "drama".

The vehicle rationing scheme will be applicable from 8 am to 8 pm and it will not be in force on 10 November Sunday. It is scheduled to conclude on 14 November.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Nov 04, 2019 15:18:47 IST