Here is an overall perspective on Delhi’s odd-even scheme

Here’s everything you want to know about the plus and minuses of Delhi’s odd-even scheme.

The good:

  • The scheme did bring down the particulate matter (PM) level in Delhi air; within the first three working days after the completion of the odd-even scheme PM 2.5 levels increased by over 50% and has stayed at high levels since then. source
  • Overall traffic jams in many areas went down and many commuters reported time savings in their commute, during the scheme-hours.

The bad:

  • The correlation between number of vehicles on road and PM2.5 is not very clear because there are several factors, other than vehicular emission, that affect the PM2.5 level in air (temperature and wind for example). So how does one gauge the overall impact of lesser traffic on PM2.5 (and other particles)? Because of changes in temperature and wind conditions, the PM2.5 level went up on several days, even during the odd-even scheme.
  • Vehicular emission is only the second major source of PM2.5 in Delhi (contributes to about 20%). “Road dust” is the primary source (contributes to almost 40% of PMR2.5 levels in air). Source. Now, road dust is not something that comes from a car’s exhaust; it comes from loose earth / gravel and there are ways to deal with it (more trees, properly paved roads, no loose soil on the sides of roads etc.). So though less dust will float in the air if less vehicles ply on road (and lesser if vehicles move at lower speed), reduction in number of vehicles still does not address the core issue of various sources causing road-dust to exist in the first place.
  • Implementing a scheme like odd-even scheme requires money – Govt. of Delhi had to spend INR 20 crore (awareness campaigns, providing alternate modes of transportation, money on volunteers etc.) – how does one decide if the benefit (which is intangible in monetary terms) outweighs the cost (known)? Unless the benefit can be turned into money, how can something like this be sustained?
  • Two-wheelers contribute 30% of total vehicular emissions in Delhi – but were totally outside the purview of the odd-even scheme (there are over 50 lakh two-wheelers in Delhi).
  • The already crowded public transportation (metro / buses) got even more crowded; rickshaws generally tried charging higher than usual rates – thus a scheme like this is obviously inconvenient to commuters (especially those who can afford to drive cars).
  • The rich could just buy two cars?

We at Neutral News don’t want to give arbitrary weight-age to the benefits and cost of this scheme just so that we can come up with a conclusion, either favouring it or writing it off. We just want you to understand both sides of the coin. And then formulate your own conclusion. If there are more points that you think should be included (either in Good or Bad), do let us know.

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