Why the odd-even experiment did not work

Commercial vehicles contribute more to air pollution than passenger vehicles and two-wheelers, finds a new study

Sneha Alexander
Updated11 Sep 2019
(Photo: HT)
(Photo: HT)

When winter arrives in North India, it brings with it hazardous pollution. And few cities suffer more than Delhi. To ease this smog, the Delhi government has implemented several different policies but new research suggests that these policies have lacked impact because they do not tackle the roots of the crisis.

In a study published in the Economic and Political Weekly, Shuvabrata Chakraborty and Samir K. Srivastava, model Delhi’s air pollution using a large systems simulation approach that captures how all the different causes of air pollution interact with each other. In particular, they segregate the contribution of passenger cars, two-wheelers, and heavy and light commercial vehicles to PM10 concentration in the air using data from the Central Pollution Control Board and the Directorate of Economics and Statistics. They find that taken together, emissions from vehicles have contributed more to air pollution over time compared to industrial and domestic emissions. However, within vehicles, they find that commercial vehicles contribute more to air pollution than passenger vehicles and two-wheelers.

This meant that the odd-even policy in 2016 was not as effective as reducing pollution since it left commercial vehicles out of its purview.

They suggest more effective policies would be to introduce restrictions to commercial vehicle entry into Delhi, scrapping old commercial vehicles and improving emission technology in the automobile sector. In addition, the authors suggest that Delhi’s urbanization has led to deforestation and the depletion of green cover. Reversing this trend by preserving and increasing green cover could be vital for protecting the city’s air.

Also read: A Novel Approach to Understanding Delhi’s Complex Air Pollution Problem

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