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9th November 2023 (15 Topics)

Odd and Even of Delhi’s Air

Context –

All year action required to address Delhi’s Air Pollution problem.

Initial Awareness and Policy Actions:

  • Identification of Vehicular Pollution: The Center for Science and Environment (CSE) in 1996 identified vehicular pollution as a significant factor in Delhi's air pollution. Recommendations were made to implement stringent emission standards, enhance fuel quality, and prioritize public transport.
  • Emission Standards and Cleaner Fuels: Over three decades, these propositions were implemented with the enforcement of progressive emission standards, cleaner fuel adoption, and significant shifts to CNG for various vehicles.
  • Urban Mass Transit: The Delhi Metro emerged as the country's most extensive urban mass transit system.

Global Recognition and Issue Mainstreaming:

  • WHO Report Labeling Delhi the Most Polluted Capital: The turning point was in 2014 when a WHO report labeled Delhi the most polluted capital, followed by high-profile incidents like US President Barack Obama's visit during severe smog.
  • Local and Global Attention: The heightened focus catalyzed concerted efforts both locally and globally to tackle the escalating problem of air pollution specifically within Delhi, prompting various initiatives aimed at resolution.
  • Increase in Continuous Monitoring Stations and Identified Pollution Sources: Continuous monitoring stations increased from five to over 40, highlighting multiple pollution sources, including industry, dust, waste burning, and seasonal factors like farm fires and festive firecrackers.

Impact and Persistent Challenges:

  • Health Implications and Continuous Measures: Pollution studies uncovered severe health risks, underlining the necessity for persistent anti-pollution actions.
  • Environmental Context and Year-Round Approach: Recognizing the environmental context's influence on pollution demands a comprehensive, perennial strategy.
  • Supreme Court Interventions and Ecologically Informed Policy: Recent court interventions on issues like stubble burning highlight the necessity for ecologically attuned policies across various sectors for long-term effectiveness.
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