As we know, our nation's capital suffers from air pollution on a magnanimous scale. Vehicular pollution and dust are the two biggest causes of dipping air quality in Delhi. According to the Air Quality Index or AQI, any reading above 100 on a scale of 500 is progressively unsafe for health. And Delhi has been at 467 and around for the past few weeks.
The Delhi Government has been taking several steps to mitigate the adversities in the environment. From banning crackers in Diwali to launching the 'Red light on, Gaadi off' campaign, they have consistently been attempting to combat pollution by various initiatives.
In a letter to the Central Pollution Control Board, EPCA chairman, Mr. Bhure Lal pointed out that vehicles contribute “as much as 40% of the total emission load in Delhi and roughly 30% in the region.” Even after removing trucks and diesel commercial vehicles, the remaining vehicles — particularly private diesel cars — “contribute substantially to the NOx and PM emissions”.
A report by two Indian researchers spelled that if the status quo is maintained, the pollution emitted by all the cars & jeeps comes to 1,01,051 tonnes per year, but if EVs are brought into the picture, pollution reduces to 75,991 tonnes per year. It can be seen from the above calculations that 24.8% of pollution will be cut down if EVs are introduced in Delhi. That is why the Delhi Govt while working on the air quality is leaning more towards making a better transport system and sees it as a major solution to a cleaner city.
One of the prime initiatives has been the Delhi government's new EV policy for faster adoption of electric vehicles. Under the new policy, subsidies have been made more accessible, there is relief in terms of road tax and registration fees, and charging stations are set up every 3 km in the city. And subsequently, over 3000 electric vehicles have been registered in Delhi since the launch of the EV policy.
Because of this initiative, the Delhi government was invited to attend the prestigious 'Race to Zero Dialogues: Launching The Global Race to Zero-Emission Mobility'. The event is a series of virtual dialogues held across the world in November to bring cities, states, and businesses together to drive forward the race to net-zero. The EV policy by Kejriwal's Govt will be featured in UN DIALOGUE on zero-emission, organized by the Climate Group in collaboration with the UN High-Level Climate Champions and the UK COP26 Presidency.
The global guide says, “The Delhi EV Policy, passed in December 2019 and enacted in August 2020, is arguably the most comprehensive sub-national policy of its kind. With a strong focus on demand creation, the policy calls for 25% of all new vehicles to be battery operated by 2024. This target is estimated to amount to 500,000 EVs and 4.82 million tons in CO2 emissions savings.”
The Delhi government is the first to reinforce smarter and better EV policy but we hope it isn't the last. Gradually, people are understanding how important it is for us to let EV enter our lives. It's the key to drive us towards a net-zero emission environment. And Delhi's leadership on climate action through an ambitious EV policy is a step closer to our aim to reduce air pollution. This will help Delhi get its breath back, not all at once – but gradual steps and initiatives are the need of the hour for a long term solution for our survival.