Evaluate the effectiveness of Delhi’s odd-even vehicle policy in mitigating health issues caused by air pollution. Discuss the limitations and potential improvements of this policy. (250 words)

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Introduction: The odd-even vehicle policy in Delhi is a measure aimed at reducing air pollution by limiting the number of vehicles on the road. However, its effectiveness in preventing health issues related to air pollution is a subject of debate.


  • Effectiveness of the Policy: Some studies have shown a decrease in particulate matter levels during the implementation of the odd-even scheme. However, the reduction is modest, ranging from 2 to 10%. This reduction could be attributed to fewer cars on the road, faster-moving traffic, and less engine idling.
  • Limitations of the Policy: Despite the reduction in emissions, the policy does not necessarily lead to a significant decrease in pollutant concentration in the air, as this is also influenced by meteorological factors. Furthermore, the policy does not halve the number of vehicles on the road due to several exceptions. The impact of the policy is also uneven across different areas and times of the day.
  • Health Impact: Long-term exposure to pollution increases the risk of various health issues, including hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic lung diseases, and cancer. A small reduction in air pollution levels may not significantly impact these health risks.
  • Potential Improvements: For a more substantial impact on air quality and health, measures such as phasing out older vehicles, promoting electric vehicles, and implementing the odd-even policy regionally could be considered. Additionally, the use of air purifiers in schools and other public places could help mitigate the health impacts of air pollution.

Conclusion: While the odd-even policy may contribute to a reduction in air pollution, its impact on preventing health issues is limited. A more comprehensive and long-term approach is needed to effectively address this issue.

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  • NO2 Reduction: The odd-even scheme could potentially reduce gaseous pollutants like nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which primarily come from vehicular emissions. A recent study found that an increase in NO2 levels led to a significant increase in emergency room visits.
  • Timing of Measures: The odd-even measures are implemented after Diwali, and hence do not address the pollution caused by firecrackers during the festival. Avoiding firecrackers could be another measure to reduce air pollution.
  • Uneven Impact: The impact of the odd-even policy is not uniform across the city or throughout the day. The sharpest drop in PM levels was observed during midday and not early morning, when cold temperatures keep pollutants close to the ground.

(Reference: Indian Express – Can Delhi’s odd-even policy help in preventing health issues? Here’s what experts, studies say)

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