New Delhi: The Odd-Even scheme has lower pollution at peak hours in the capital, the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi has told the High Court. It has also made a case for an extension of the experiment, saying 15 days are not enough.
The court had earlier this week asked the Arvind Kejriwal government why its use to ban private cars on alternate days should last more than a week.
Observing that public transport in Delhi was “insufficient” and people were inconvenienced, the judges had asked the government to file in court by today, an account of how pollution has been effected by the new traffic rules.
The odd-even scheme was introduced on January 1 for a two-week period to cut smog in the world’s most dirty capital. Cars with odd-numbered licence plates are allowed on the roads on odd-numbered dates, and those with even-numbered plates on the other days.
The state government had said that a fortnight’s run is compulsory to correctly assess the potential of the new restrictions in improving the quality of the city’s air.
Transport Minister Gopal Rai had said before this week, “We have been saying since day one that public transport is not enough,” and reiterated the government’s commitment to improving the number of buses and metro trains for commuters.
He had also said that Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 caused by vehicular pollution is down in Delhi by about 30 per cent since the new rules were moved.
PM 2.5 or fine particles less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter are linked to highest rates of chronic bronchitis, lung cancer and heart disease after settling into lungs and passing into the bloodstream.
The High Court is hearing a series of request related to the odd-even scheme, including some seeking exemption for lawyers and senior citizens.
Schools in the capital have been order to remain closed till January 15, partly so that their buses can be used to ferry commuters to work