Odd-even scheme road test: help bring down air pollution

Delhi : Evening sets in and levels of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 climbed steadily, an official monitoring the situation could not help but get frustrated. All construction activity in the city had been suspended a few weeks ago, the second week of the odd-even road-rationing scheme was in place, and schools had been ordered to shut for the next two days.

Under GRAP, an action plan to combat pollution in Delhi-NCR, actions are recommended based on the concentration of pollutants. At lower levels of PM 2.5 and 10, the plan suggests making sure waste is not set on fire in the open, illegal industrial activity is curtailed and roads are vacuum-cleaned. At the highest end of the spectrum are actions such as halting construction, shutting schools and odd-even.

Anticipating an increase in pollution post-Diwali and during crop burning season, the Delhi government had announced in September that the third phase of the odd-even scheme, whereby cars can ply on alternate days based on the last digit of their registration number, will be implemented between November 4 and 15. The scheme, which has been implemented in several countries such as China, Mexico and France in different forms, aims to remove half of the cars from the roads.