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Bad Air Days

  • Published
    28th Nov, 2023

Context

Transportation sector and secondary aerosols have contributed the most to air pollution in Delhi after November 9, almost 30 per cent each.

Persisting Air Pollution Challenges

  • Data Trends and Identified Sources: While biomass burning remains a significant contributor, the collaboration between Delhi Pollution Control Committee and IIT Kanpur has narrowed data gaps, revealing consistent air pollution trends. Over the past decade, detailed flow patterns and pollutant behaviours have been identified.
  • Inadequate Action despite Available Data: Despite ample data, the response to air pollution in Delhi appears lacking. Efforts to curb vehicular emissions, control industrial discharges, manage construction activities, and address agricultural waste burning have not shown substantial improvement in air quality over the years.
  • Lingering Challenges and Seasonal Concerns: Air quality remains a persistent concern throughout the year. Despite recent reductions in biomass burning incidents, the winter months still witness severe haze and smog. The cyclic nature of discussions and limited long-term trends highlight the need for sustained, comprehensive pollution control measures.

Strategies for Effective Mitigation

  • Curbing Vehicular Emissions: Promote public transportation, incentivize electric vehicles, enforce emission standards, and implement congestion pricing to discourage private vehicle use in crowded areas.
  • Controlling Industrial Emissions: Enforce strict emission standards, promote cleaner production, encourage cleaner fuels, and establish industrial zones away from residential areas.
  • Managing Construction and Demolition Activities: Implement dust control measures, cover construction materials, ensure responsible waste disposal, and enforce regulations for timely project completion.

Challenges in Implementation

  • Lack of Visible Improvement: Despite attention, air quality in Delhi during winter months shows no noticeable improvement. Ad-hoc measures and short-term solutions have not translated into sustained positive trends.
  • Need for Comprehensive and Long-Term Planning: Addressing air pollution requires comprehensive plans for major sources in the short, medium, and long term. Current efforts, if existent, fall short of making a significant impact.
  • Continuous Focus and Action Required: Air pollution is a year-round problem. Discussions and actions should extend beyond seasonal concerns, emphasizing the necessity for sustained efforts and a comprehensive pollution control strategy.
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