Everybody Loves a Good Smog

With the North India smog repeatedly reminding us that we are in no way ready to arrest climate change, it is high time we switched to sustainable and equitable modes of transport.

November is here. And, like clockwork, air pollution is once again on our lips (and deep in our lungs). Over the first weekend of November, and again over this past week, air pollution levels broke the charts across the National Capital Region and reached public emergency levels (Severe Plus). Responses from the government have been along expected lines, and expectedly insufficient. It has become painfully clear that we, as a society, are completely unequipped to deal with complex multidimensional issues and our fight against climate change is a mismatched one.

The odd–even programme once again came into force in Delhi on 4 November with the intent of reducing noxious emissions from private vehicles. Much has been written about its previous outings, especially about its (in)efficacy in keeping down vehicular pollution, which contributes to at least a fifth of the total pollution. Even now, people have questioned it over its multiple exemptions and its duration. Successive governments have been bickering over curtailing stubble burning, with the Supreme Court also clearly conveying its stance. Perhaps, we may be able to resolve this prickly issue in a manner acceptable to all stakeholders, especially the farmers, by the time next winter rolls in. Delhi will still have to deal with reducing pollution from other sources, especially from vehicles and construction.

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Updated On : 19th Nov, 2019


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