Turn­ing Over a New Leaf

HOW NEW DELHI WENT FROM MOST POL­LUTED TO ONE OF ASIA’S GREEN­EST CITIES

Asian Geographic - - Ppiiccttuu­rreessqquu­ee -

the start of 2016, In­dia’s cap­i­tal city im­ple­mented yet an­other break­through ini­tia­tive in a push to lose the rep­u­ta­tion of be­ing Asia’s most pol­luted city. In ad­dress­ing con­cerns that sur­round the is­sue of en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tion within In­dia, the gov­ern­ment has taken the stance that quick so­lu­tions are needed. As a re­sult, over the last few years, New Delhi is fast be­com­ing a city that has some of the most rev­o­lu­tion­ary green­ing ini­tia­tives.

Among the lat­est of th­ese ini­tia­tives within the trans­port sec­tor in the city is the sell­ing of an eco-friendly al­ter­na­tive to diesel fuel, Com­pressed Nat­u­ral Gas (CNG) at a dis­counted rate dur­ing off-peak hours in and around the cap­i­tal city.

In­dia’s oil min­is­ter Dhar­men­dra Pradhan has ex­pressed that this dis­counted rate along with new traf­fic rules for ve­hi­cles run­ning on diesel

fuel will help curb pol­lu­tion as well as re­duce the rush at gas sta­tions dur­ing peak hours.

CNG fac­tors promi­nently on the ur­ban green­ing ini­tia­tive for Delhi as the city’s en­tire pub­lic trans­port sys­tem, com­pris­ing 13,000 pub­lic buses and 55,000 auto-rick­shaws al­ready run­ning on the eco-friendly gas. Along­side this are strict en­force­ments on pri­vate ve­hi­cles. In a 15-day test run in Jan­uary, pri­vate cars were banned from the roads on al­ter­nate days fol­low­ing the odd and even num­bers on the ve­hi­cle plates.

About 23% of Delhi’s ve­hi­cles run on diesel and th­ese emit a sig­nif­i­cantly higher amount of toxic emis­sions as com­pared to petrol. In an­other step to curb this, the Na­tional Green Tri­bunal in In­dia an­nounced that no new diesel ve­hi­cles can be reg­is­tered.

The ve­hi­cle re­stric­tions came after a court or­dered the In­dian au­thor­i­ties to take the pol­lu­tion prob­lem in Delhi se­ri­ously as pol­lu­tion lev­els were run­ning into ten times above the safe limit as set by the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO).

The pro­gres­sive steps that Delhi has taken have paid off as it is now one of Asia’s high­est rank­ing green cities, even as its city dwellers are en­cour­aged to take on the low-car­bon life­style. This is ev­i­dent with the es­tab­lish­ment of the The Ra­jiv Gandhi Re­new­able En­ergy Park, which is run en­tirely on so­lar en­ergy as well, along­side ini­tia­tives that en­cour­age city res­i­dents to use the Metro sub­way sys­tem and par­tic­i­pate in re­cy­cling cam­paigns.

Delhi also scores in­cred­i­bly well in its waste man­age­ment as it has strin­gent re­cy­cling poli­cies and stud­ies show that its in­hab­i­tants gen­er­ate one of the least waste gen­er­a­tion per per­son among cities sur­veyed in Asia. ag

In 2014, New Delhi was de­clared by the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion as the most pol­luted city in the world

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