The weather of the National Capital Region, including Delhi, is terrible around this time of the year every year. The winter of 2017 is no different. Smog has engulfed the air of the capital and adjoining areas, affecting not only visibility but also breathing. The extent of suspended particulate matter has turned living in northern India hazardous. The judicial activism of banning the sale of crackers on Diwali has had no lasting impact, as it wasn’t supposed to have one. The Arvind Kejriwal government of the city-State of Delhi was contemplating the resumption of ‘odd-even’ rule — car rationing — when the National Green Tribunal questioned the activist-turned-politician’s opportunistic politics of sparing motorcyclists and women, making him beat a hasty retreat. While the Delhi chief minister is not sure what advice to give to Punjab — where he will have no electoral interest until the next Assembly election — his counterpart in Punjab has sought an alternative to crop stubble burning for the farmers from the Centre. Meanwhile, the party ruling at the Centre, the BJP, has adopted silence and inaction as its policy. In short, everybody except those at the helm of governments and the judiciary knows how the menace of pollution must be fought!
Here are some workable solutions. high-efficiency particulate arrestance, air filters, industrial zones may incorporate advanced ventilation systems; dilution ventilation and isolation might be extreme measures. Constructions in concrete can be slowed down until the air pollution is manageable again. Shops may be asked to open and close at different durations of the day, depending on the nature of the businesses. Parking may be banned around places of worship, thus avoiding traffic bottlenecks in the neighbourhoods where these are located. Car-pooling will not work because of the varied work destinations and hours of neighbours. Vehicular pollutants, in any case, constitute a mere 18% of all the pollutants in NCR’s skies. These methods of fighting pollution are being proposed presuming, of course, the authority is interested to learn what it has not tried so far.