Air Pollution

Best of Both Sides: To combat pollution, use of personal vehicles must decrease

Urban Air Pollution: Sources and Pollutants - Airqoon - Cost effective and  easy to use air monitoring at scale

Central idea

Delhi grapples with severe smog, prompting emergency measures to curb pollution, including restricting vehicles. Despite past efforts to mitigate vehicular emissions, the city faces challenges in reducing dependence on personal vehicles. The article emphasizes the need for stronger political will, effective restraints, and enhanced public transport to address the persistent air quality and mobility crisis in Delhi.

Key Highlights:

  • Delhi faces severe smog, prompting emergency measures to curb pollution, including restrictions on vehicles.
  • Vehicles contribute significantly to Delhi’s air pollution, with official data indicating a 40% emission of particulate load.
  • Despite previous efforts, vehicular emissions remain challenging to mitigate, with over 80 lakh on-road vehicles in Delhi.


  • Cumulative emissions from increasing vehicle numbers and congestion undermine emission improvements per unit.
  • Personal automobile dependence persists, with a 47% growth in car numbers during 2022-23.
  • The shift to public transport is hindered by inadequate infrastructure, low passenger numbers per bus, and a lack of effective restraints on personal vehicle usage.

Key Phrases:

  • “Crippling mobility crisis” in Delhi due to emergency measures restricting vehicles.
  • “Gut reaction” to underplay the role of vehicles in air pollution amid public criticism.

Analysis: The article underscores the persistent challenge of vehicular emissions in Delhi, despite past efforts to curb pollution. It highlights the need for a substantial shift to public transport to address the mobility crisis and reduce dependence on personal vehicles.

Key Data:

  • Over 80 lakh on-road vehicles in Delhi, with car numbers witnessing a 47% growth in 2022-23.
  • Transport diesel consumption reduced by 46% between 2014 and 2022.
  • Only 7,041 buses against the mandated 10,000, with a 48% drop in passengers carried per bus since 2017-18.

Key Facts:

  • Despite emission improvements, Delhi’s air quality remains a concern, leading to emergency measures.
  • Public transport ridership faces challenges, with a drop in passengers per bus and increased empty kilometres.
  • The article emphasizes the need for stronger political will to restrain personal vehicle usage and promote public transport.

Way Forward:

  • Strengthen political will to implement effective restraints on personal vehicle usage, such as parking rules and congestion pricing.
  • Focus on making integrated public transport more convenient, accessible, and affordable.
  • Implement scalable solutions, including a dense street network for walking and cycling, and housing closer to transit nodes.

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