'Pollution is down, we will tell HC'

PM2.5 levels are falling every day, minister says

 The car rationing plan is reducing PM2.5 pollutants during the day almost every day, said Transport Minister Gopal Rai on Thursday, making a case for the continuation of the odd-even scheme for full 15 days.

During an inspection of pre-paid auto and taxi facilities at New Delhi Railway Station on the day, the minister said that the autorickshaw and taxi drivers have been cooperating with the city government’s drive. But the minister agreed that there have been some complaints by the commuters.

The minister added that the public has supported the road rationing campaign and the government would inform the Delhi High Court about this by presenting supporting data on pollution levels.

The minister said that the government needs 15 days to collect “sufficient” data on the pollution levels in the city. “We can’t hold drive again and again as it will be inconvenient for people. So the drive will continue till January 15,” said Rai.

The Transport Department said the government has been able to reduce the pollution level. “As we have estimated, the pollution level has reduced by 20 to 25 per cent on an average,” he added.

The government said that the odd-even plan has not been able to bring about reduction in pollution in the border areas of Delhi. “But in Delhi the impact is visible because of two reasons. Firstly, due to less number of cars on the roads reducing congestion. Secondly, the vehicles’ speed on road has improved. Vehicles are taking half the time to reach their destinations due to less congestion on roads,” he added.

The minister said he held a meeting with all the departments involved including environment, Delhi Metro and Delhi Transport Corporation to improve public transport facilities so that people do not face any inconvenience.

“Every department has assured that they are doing their best. The Delhi Metro said that even if four lakh more passengers take to its network, it will shoulder the extra rush,” Rai said.

Latest data from 18 locations proves consistent drop in air pollution caused by vehicular traffic, the government said.

“The latest set of ambient air data collected by mobile teams of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee on 18 locations across Delhi through mobile dust samplers on Wednesday shows a consistent trend of declining levels of PM2.5 air pollution levels,” it added.

“The mobile teams of Delhi Pollution Control Committee have so far collected ambient air data from 90 locations, which is the biggest ever data on air pollution in the national capital. According to experts, average reduction in PM2.5 levels is between 100-150 units. This is due to the reduction in the number of vehicles on roads of Delhi.”

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