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Pollution challenge in Indian cities more severe today: CSE

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Apr 19 (UNI) Even though the national capital is at forefront in enforcing tighter emissions standards and fuel quality, it is still at risk of losing its gains due to the sheer number of vehicles in the city.

While Delhi had remained at the forefront in enforcing tighter emissions standards and fuel quality, it stood at serious risk of failing to face newer challenges, latest Centre for Science and Environment study had found.

''Unbelievably, as much as 17 per cent of the cars in India run in Delhi alone. It has more cars than the total numbers of cars in the individual states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and West Bengal,'' CSE's new book 'The Leapfrog Factor: Clearing the air in Asian cities', which was released by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today, stated.

The most worrying trend in Delhi was that while the technology roadmap remained sluggish, the sheer number of vehicles were overpowering the change, it said.

Things could have been much worse but for the the Supreme Court.

Delhi would have been reeling under a pollution load of 38 per cent more particulates if the apex court had not intervened to introduce cleaner fuels and emission technology in the capital, it added.

Even though congestion and pollution from vehicles was threatening to destroy the quality of life in the city, this mobility crisis was not, however, building up in Delhi alone but in all Indian cities because a large share of daily travel trips was being made by personal transport, research found.

''Delhi's air is cleaner today, but it is still not clean enough.

What's worse, more and more Indian cities -- a number of which are small, non-metro -- are turning into smog-encased pollution hotspots,'' it said.

''Indian cities are in the grip of an overwhelming mobility crisis -- congestion and pollution from personal cars. Greater number of small cities are swamped by pollution, as the list of ten most polluted cities in the country has no metros in it,'' it added.

A car caught in congestion could emit nearly four times more pollution. Cars and two-wheelers took up nearly 90 per cent of the road space but carried lesser numbers of people and polluted excessively, the publication stated.

As a result, public transport -- which was the key to leveraging change towards sustainable mobility -- was collapsing in most cities.

Only eight of the 35 cities that had more than a million population had dedicated bus services; even these were under extreme pressure.

Approximately 80 million trips needed to be catered to daily in our metro cities, but the available rail and bus transport could cater to only 37 million, it added.


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