Devices to keep tab on pollution near city's border

The Delhi government will install mobile pollution monitoring devices near city’s borders to monitor the impact of the recent Supreme Court order to levy a pollution tax on non-destined commercial vehicles going through the state.

The mobile pollution monitoring devices can be taken to any spot to measure the pollution level in the area and the government’s environment department is formulating a proposal to purchase and install such devices, said Environment Secretary Ashwani Kumar.

In a move aimed at reducing air pollution in the capital, the Supreme Court had on Monday issued an order to levy an environment compensation charge of Rs 700 and Rs 1,300 on light commercial vehicles and heavy trucks respectively not destined for Delhi, in addition to the toll tax.

Transit route
The trucks use Delhi as a transit route and choke Delhi’s air because it was cheaper to traverse through the capital than to take alternative highways to transport goods.
With the pollution tax being introduced, the government

officials and the environment activists hope that the trucks will now avoid Delhi roads and take other more convenient routes.

“The data from monitoring at border areas will prove to be a lot of help in assessing the situation and compare the before and after scenario,” Kumar said.

“If there is no data, planning becomes more difficult. Once we have the data, any further planning to control pollution will be more realistic and productive.

Scientific method
“Then only further plan can be initiated and policy decisions can be taken based on evidences. In all advanced countries, they talk only after they have analysed the data. That is the scientific method to go about it,” he added.

Currently, there are 13 monitoring stations in Delhi at fixed points – six operated by DPCC and seven by CPCB. This is the first time that the environment department is drafting a plan of installing mobile air quality devices at the border areas and the rest of the city to get a thorough view.

The officials are currently seeking consultations with Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and IIT-Delhi.

The department is also mulling to hand over the devices to another agency and purchase the information from it.

“This is a technical issue and we require some amount of expertise. We are still looking at some combinations and permutations.”

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