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The example of reducing air pollution by way of closure of coal based power generators in the UK as shown in the present article is apt for developing countries such as India where such power generation is still in vogue. Replacement of such power generators by natural sources such as wind mills, solar energy, hydro power projects, nuclear power reactors seems to be the prime choice in the future. In Delhi also, recently, the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi has shut down coal based power generators in order to reduce air pollution.
The Government has also tried in an experimental manner the odd even scheme rationing of vehicles which constitutes about 20% of air pollution in Delhi. In this scheme, on the odd days of the month only vehicles with last digit odd numbers and on even days, vehicles with only even last digits drove on the roads for a month. This led to reduction in vehicle load in the first instance, but not so in the second phase. The ambient air pollution in Delhi didn't show much reduction. This was due to variations in wind speed, burning of vegetable stub in neighbouring states such as Haryana and Punjab after the cropping season. Burning of plastics, dried refuse, leaves, etc. also contributed to air pollution.
Considering these, tackling air pollution needs a strong policy and its sound implementation by way of penalising those with burning refuse, vegetable stub, etc., besides gradual phasing out diesel vehicles which contribute a lot to air pollution. Shifting of vehicles to CNG (compressed natural gas) is another way, but limitations due to their availability (few CNG pump stations) can also further reduce pollution. All these measures need to be implemented with a strong political will and with people's participation in tackling air pollution in Delhi.
No competing interests
28 October 2016
Mongjam Meghachandra Singh
Director-Professor, co-author: Assistant Professor
Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi; IGNOU, New Delhi
Department of Community Medicine, MAMC, New Delhi; School of Health Sciences, IGNOU, New Delhi