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Game of Odd and Even Number to Combat Air Pollution in Delhi

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has experimented for a fortnight on formula of permitting the vehicles having odd number as its last digit in its registration number to run on odd dates and even number as its last digit on even dates in order to control the vehicle on road between 8.00AM to 8.00 PM, so that level of pollution in Delhi could be controlled. This measure might have resulted in marginal reduction in air pollution, but it will be knee jerk only that too at the cost of lots of inconvenience to common public. Pollution needs to be abated undoubtedly, but pulling out vehicles off the road without making viable alternate arrangements is not a solution. There has to be a pragmatic solution.


The most important issue that needs to be targeted is to reduce the pollution emission per person per kilometre of travel. This can be achieved by implementing various measures such as strict pollution emission norms on vehicles plying on the road, augmenting the capacity of public transport system with high quality mass transit transport system, better traffic management to avoid traffic jam and slow down of speed of vehicles, and financial disincentive to use of private vehicles etc. Stricter pollution emission norms will reduce the pollution emission per person per kilometre and this can be easily achieved by giving financial incentives on road tax and parking charges to electric, hybrid and other pollution efficient vehicles. Many of the people having good paying capacity do not use public transport as quality and capacity of public transport is poor. If better quality of public transport is provided even at a bit higher cost, these people will switch over to public transport and in that even per kilometre pollution emission will come down due to operational efficiency. Better traffic management will help in maintaining the proper speed of vehicle in order to reduce amount of  pollution per kilometre of vehicle travelled.  Increased road tax and parking charges on private vehicles will dissuade the user to use of private vehicle.  


Implementation of above mentioned measure can reduce vehicle emitted pollution. However, there should be some mechanism to meet the generic emergency transport needs of people such as during medical emergency, safety and security of vulnerable people especially women, children and old people. People may be provided paid coupon for a day or a number of days per month to meet any emergency where a vehicle unauthorised to ply on particular day may ply on road through use of this coupon. Charges of coupon per vehicle for a particular vehicle may be increased, if it uses more than a particular number of coupons per month. In addition, staggering the working hours of school, colleges and offices in a particular area may ease out burden on public transport and reduce congestion on road. Cycling needs to be encouraged among public through campaign and by providing separate lanes for cyclist. If these measures are implemented, definitely there will be reduction in air pollution in Delhi without compromising with timely, safe and pleasant travel. 

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