Much is being said about the alarming air pollution situation in our nation's capital. You've probably heard or read that, "air pollution in Delhi is twice as bad as Beijing" and that "air pollution in Delhi has increased more than 5 folds over the course of just one year". Reliable or not, you don't need a study or research or news alert to inform you of the worsening situation. Just stepping out of Delhi airport should suffice as evidence.
Gone are the days when you could enjoy your drive to work with the windows rolled down. This itself should tell you that Delhi's way past the "safe mark" with regard to air pollution levels. There is however, sufficient research and evidence to support this.
The Particulate Pollutant Percentage in Delhi has been found to be 13 times greater than the World Health Organisation's annual recommendation and 3.5 times that of the India's air quality standard. And India is no benchmark when speaking of air quality standards.
According to the findings released by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and US-based Health Effects Institute in 2013, India is ranked as the seventh most environmentally hazardous country in the world and is among the world's top CO2 emitters.
Considering that emissions from vehicles contribute to about 70% of the air pollution, it is no surprise that the government has made it a priority to combat vehicular pollution. With the aim to "effectively cut down vehicular pollution levels", the Delhi government has introduced experimental regulations, after taking notes from countries around the world.
One such regulation is that vehicles with odd and even registration numbers will be allowed on Delhi roads on alternate days. The rational is to reduce the number of private vehicles ploughing Delhi roads on a daily basis. Though critics have already expressed doubts on the effectiveness of this regulation, how effective the move will be depends on how we, the people of Delhi, respond to the challenge.
The Delhi government has diligently asked the Public Transport Bodies to increase the frequency of their services to tackle the expected rise in the number of commuters due to the 'odd even dilemma'. However, we suspect that plying a few extra buses and metros isn't going to be sufficient to tackle the surge of daily commuters.
In such a situation, carpooling could be the hero that provides an effective and holistic solution for everyone concerned; the commuters, the government and the environment.
Carpooling is a safe and economic way to tackle the current air pollution crisis that is griping Delhi and Delhi needs every citizen's help to bring down the dangerously high air pollution level it is currently at.
Being the only NGO in India to provide such a platform, it is our duty to propagate carpooling or ride-sharing as a pocket-friendly and safe way of contributing to our economy and positively impacting our environment.