Pollution Due to Vehicular Emissions

It changed from a colonial headquarters to a national capital. It was suddenly the most important and active center for governance, commerce, industry, culture and education.
The consequent rise in population and economic activity resulted in the city’s unprecedented growth. With civic amenities not being able to keep pace with the city’s expansion in terms of population, vehicles, loss of green cover and so on, pollution rose and touched alarming levels. The state government along with non-government organizations and concerned citizens including school children has been aware for some time now about the urgency of keeping pollution under control. Some measures have been taken though the battle against pollution is still far from won.
This paper examines the problem of pollution caused by vehicular emissions in the Indian Capital of New Delhi. The steps taken to control it, subsequent results and future intentions are discussed briefly.
According to the White Paper on Pollution in Delhi, 1997, 67% of the total air pollution can be attributed to vehicular emissions. The phenomenal increase in number of vehicles in Delhi can be best appreciated when one is confronted with actual numbers. According to the same paper it is learnt that number of vehicles in Delhi rose from two hundred and thirty five thousand in 1975 to two million six hundred and twenty nine thousand in 1996! While in 1975 the number of vehicles in Delhi and Mumbai were about the same, by 1997, Delhi had three times the number of vehicles in Mumbai.
Understanding the urgency of the situation the Ministry of Environment and Forests after much deliberation with concerned government agencies, NGOs, experts and citizens, produced a comprehensive Action Plan that prescribed a number of measures to combat Delhi’s rapidly increasing pollution.
It was quite clear that if the air in Delhi was to be cleared, vehicular emissions had to be addressed first of all in any strategy to control air pollution in the city.
Earlier in 1995 the Centre for Science and Environment had succeeded in creating awareness among the people of the dangers of air pollution in Delhi. The CSE campaign called for a shift from use of diesel as fuel for vehicles in Indian cities towards Compressed Natural Gas.
Eventually, in December 2002 the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) program was implemented. All public transport vehicles had to run on CNG only. Air quality in Delhi improved perceptibly yet there was still much scope for improvement.
Five years later, by November 2007, an alarm went up again with annual average levels of reparable suspended particulate matter showing an upward swing the previous year. It was believed that the gains from the CNG program had been lost with all first generation options having been exhausted.
Sunita Narain, Director CSE said strict measures needed to be taken with a second generation of reforms that would address new challenges. The rate at which the city was adding new personal vehicles each day to its roads doubled that of the pre-CNG days.
However, the gravity of the situation was not lost on at least some members of the government and the Chief Minister of Delhi, Ms Sheila

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