At times when the Delhi Government is taking all possible measures to deal with the menace of pollution with contingency plans already set in motion to combat it, a scientific study has revealed that 41 percent of the pollution in Delhi is contributed by “transport sector”.
A study by System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) under Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India, has shown, “After transport, ‘wind-blown dust’ is the second major contributor with 21.5 per cent followed by “Industry” at 18.6 per cent. On the other hand minor contributors are “Power” and “Residential” contributing about 4.9 and 3 per cent respectively. Others contribute about 11 per cent.
‘Residential Sector’ includes slum, crop Residue, cow dung, street vendor, household, DG Set, wood burning, etc while Other Sector includes MSW Plants, MSW Open Burning, Crematory, Aviation, Incense Stick, Brick Kiln, etc, it states.
As per the findings of the study, Heavy Commercial Vehicles (HCVs), commercial and privately owned four-wheeler (4W) segment has emerged as one of the major polluting sources in Delhi. While the local car transport like OLA, UBER and MERU etc have significantly high Vehicle Kilometre Travelled (VKT) of nearly 1,45,000 km per year per car.
The relative contribution of other State four wheelers plying on different Delhi roads is found to be of the order of 25-45 percent. The study reveals that some roads experience rising vehicle density on weekends (India Gate, Airport, Kashmiri Gate, etc.) as against usual deceasing trend.
Everyday vehicle load in eight different entry-points of Delhi from other States is nearly 11 lakhs while the average speed of vehicle on major roads in Delhi is just 20- 30 km/hr leading to poor vehicle mileage and more emission .
With unbriddled stubble burning in neighboring Punjab and Haryana, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Government in Delhi has toughened its stand against any violation of pollution norms. Delhi Government has already announced 10 percent discount on common mobility card or Metro Card in DTC buses in order to encourage people to take public transport and discourage them from using their private vehicles.
With over all air quality of Delhi remaining “very poor” despite of all measures enforced by the Government, Delhi stares at “murky” winter laden with toxicants in its air. Adding to the Delhi’s woe is the deadly smog that emanates from the stubble burning and which engulfs national Capital each year in winters and is major cause of road accidents taking human tolls, the study has found.
The Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 and PM are the major pollutants that pose major health hazards to the residents of the city.
PM 2.5 is an atmospheric particulate matter of diameter of fewer than 2.5 micrometers, which is around 3 percent the diameter of a human hair. It causes respiratory problems and reduces visibility. PM 2.5 particles can only be detected with the help of an electron microscope. Due to their smaller size, the PM 2.5 particles can easily bypass the nose and throat and can easily enter the circulatory system. The particles can also lead to cause chronic diseases such as asthma, heart attack, bronchitis and other respiratory problems, it says.
According to the study the estimated total emission of PM2.5 for Delhi-NCR domain is calculated to be around 107.786 Giga- gram (Gg) per year in 2018. Transport sector and industrial sector are playing major role in PM2.5 emission by contributing around 42.230 Gg/yr and 24.10 Gg/yr respectively to the total emission. Windblown dust is contributing around 19.50 Gg/yr followed by residential sector 6.2 Gg/yr and thermal power plants (3.34 Gg/yr).
High emission of PM2.5 in the range of 10-50 ton/yr is found over eastern, central, some part of southeastern part of Delhi-NCR, which includes major dense roads network and industrial and residential zones. Emission of the order of 200-1000 ton/yr is found over industrial zone next to major roads. Large Point Sources like thermal power stations and WSM plants are some of other high emitted zone. Western and northern region of Delhi shows comparatively lower value of PM2.5 emission in the range of 0.6-8.0 ton/yr due to large agricultural lands, less number of industries followed by low population density leading to minimum emission.
The study shows that the residential emission has reduced drastically due to penetration of LPG connection in slums (95 percent) and household. The Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) related pollution is emerging as new challenge to tackle air quality issue in Delhi.