In a revelation that will give huge boost to the confidence of Delhi government, its first Car Free Day in the national capital on Thursday has led to a 60 percent drop in the air pollution on the car-free stretch in comparison to the levels observed on a normal day.
A report released by the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said, “The car-free initiative as well as the low traffic load on the national holiday of Dussehra has helped lower the pollution levels and toxic exposure in the city. ”
The report further added that on Thursday, the air ‘particulate matter (PM 2.5) was 265 micrograms per cubic metre (cu m) in comparison to a normal day, when the particulate normally was 689 micrograms per cu m.’
Particulate Matter (PM2.5) is an air pollutant that is a concern for people’s health when its levels in air are high.
PM2.5 is tiny particles in the air that reduce visibility and cause the air to appear hazy when levels are elevated.
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee too has supported the CSE report and has observed overall drop of 45 percent in PM2.5 level in the city.
The car-free day in Delhi was observed on the stretch between Red Fort and India Gate with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal leading a cycle rally in the morning.
“This initiative of the Delhi government has only helped to prove how the growing car numbers in the city aggravate toxic pollution. If these numbers are controlled, pollution can be lowered significantly,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director (research and advocacy), CSE.
The exposure monitoring on the road was carried out by CSE first on October 21 — a regular day — and during the car-free event on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took to social media to share the impact of car free day, saying we need to reduce traffic.
In the series of tweets, he said: “Almost 60 percent reduction in pollution noted on that road. It means traffic is main culprit. We have to reduce traffic.”
“Comfortable, reliable, accessible public transport system and better designed roads is the key. I’ll personally work on this,” he added.