The year 2019 has just come to an end leaves Delhi Citizens with a number of issues to ponder over and work upon towards improvement in 2020 and make it better and healthier in all aspects.
The Air Pollution of the Delhi NCR is easily amongst the top few issues that require urgent attention and due redressal. The Government of Delhi is seized of the issue and have undertaken schemes like Odd-Even as a SOS measure. However, there is need to simultaneously undertake multiple initiatives to bring about a quick turn around.
Transportation is the largest source of air pollution in Delhi, contributing 18-39% to the city’s pollution followed by Road Dust which is the second largest source of air pollution in Delhi (18-38%), followed by industries (2-29%). Power plants, contribute about 3-11% of Delhi’s pollution. The fifth largest source is construction (8%).
On behalf of the Consulting Engineers Association of India and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and in my capacity as Chair and Co-Chair of their respective Infrastructure Committees, I would like to suggest a few practical workable solutions to the Government of Delhi and its Pollution Control Board, as well as the Central Pollution Control Board to tackle hazardous air pollution.
In order to ensure a sustainable planet for the future generations, emphasis should be on cutting off pollutants at the source rather than looking at quick fix and short term solutions to tide over the situation.
Tackling the air pollution menace is not in the number of plans but in the proper implementation and monitoring of the measures adopted. Coordination between Delhi and its surrounding States is critical to forge effective and long lasting solutions.
As matured and experienced Administrators and Professionals, it is time to act as catalysts to initiate priority measures including Promoting ways and means of cutting down on use of fossil fuels and investing in electrical power and solar power.
Keeping high-polluting vehicles away from cities and plan and implement their end of life.Well conceived and operational public transportation systems – supporting the metro, and bus services. Better maintenance and traffic management of roads to reduce travel time.
Controling air pollutant emissions from power plants by adopting tail pipe treatment technologies. This needs to be taken up immediately and completed on priority, say in six months’ time.Provide=ing incentive to brick kilns for adopting zigzag technology within fixed tenure of, say one year. Those who do not do so should be closed down.
Installing smog tower at identified hot spots (to begin as Pilot projects). Penalties for construction sites for not following pollution control measures.Efficient waste management covering all waste, provide necessary guidance and the budget, impose heavy penalty on burning of garbage. To be adopted on top most priority, say in next 6 to 9 months.
Proper and effective control on polluting industries and assisting them with technological solutions and ensuring their implementation. To achieve this, financial assistance at low interest rates should be made available. Any industry if found lacking in taking corrective action should be closed down.
Promoting use of technologies in Agricultural sector so as to dissuade them from adopting burning of agricultural stubble. Reward users suitably through incentives, assistance in setting up Compost plants, etc.; basically explore alternate options towards a win-win situation.
Development of Green Corridor along roads, vertical gardens on tall buildings, etc.Implementing enhanced parking rate for graded air pollution scenario to discourage use of vehicles during critical condition.
Adoption of international best practices ranging from congestion pricing to deployment of suitable and effective strategies to continually monitor and contain air pollution. Identifying and replicating Vehicle Free Zones such as Karol Bagh market area.
Data transparency would enable all elements of the society to participate in achieving environmental objectives of clean air.Engaging the public and all stakeholders to strengthen environmental protection measures and help in achieving Cleaner and Greener NCR.
We are confident, implementation of the above measures simultaneously and monitored for its effectiveness, will bring marked improvement in the Delhi NCR’s Air Quality.