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The Delhi Government decided that as the pollution level in Delhi have shown a dramatic increase in the level of PM 2.5 and PM 10 since Diwali, it decided to start a new policy of odd-even in Delhi to bring it down. According to this, cars who have last number of the registration number odd will run on odd dates and those ho have even will run on even days. On Sundays, cars can ply freely. Cars driven by women and having a patient were given an exempt. Cars running on CNG were also exempted .
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The odd even scheme has seen widespread debate over its impact on the quality of Delhi’s air. Some agencies have come out with data on dips in specific pollutants on certain dates, others have called such claims premature. So what makes it so difficult to arrive at a quantitative assessment of air quality that can be directly related to the restrictions imposed on vehicles during the fortnight January 1 to January 15?
There is a lot of disagreement between different agencies on the method of data assessment. While the Delhi government and some independent agencies like Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) have been going by daily peaks in measuring pollutants, others like the MoEF’s Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) have been taking daily averages. The former claim that the purpose of the ’emergency’ policy was to arrest the peaks in the pollutants during the winter so only the peak levels should be analysed.
The latter say that by studying only the peaks can be misleading, and averages are a more scientific way of assessing any impact on air quality. A third set of experts swear by spot measuring of pollutants particularly at roadsides and traffic signals, rather than measuring the ambient air quality as done by the above agencies. Their argument is that reducing the number of vehicles will impact roadside pollution levels far more than ambient air quality
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