Under the leadership of Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi government has taken a significant stride in the battle against air pollution by instituting a ban on the entry of app-based taxis into the national capital. This measure, communicated by Delhi’s Environment Minister, Gopal Rai, entails the prohibition of app-based taxi services, allowing exclusively those cabs registered within Delhi to operate within the city.
This decision is a response to a directive from the Supreme Court, which called on the Kejriwal government to contemplate such a prohibition as a means to mitigate air pollution in the national capital. Previously, on November 6, the Delhi government had introduced the Odd-Even scheme as a response to the ongoing pollution crisis. However, the Supreme Court expressed doubts about the scheme’s effectiveness, characterizing it as mere optics devoid of substantive outcomes. The court raised concerns about the scheme’s efficiency and success, emphasizing the need for a thorough evaluation and substantiation. The implementation of the Odd-Even scheme depends on the Supreme Court’s evaluation and subsequent directives.
Minister Rai announced that the Delhi government would present the results of two significant studies conducted by the Energy Policy Institute of the University of Chicago and the Delhi Technical University to assess the scheme’s effectiveness, with the next hearing scheduled for Friday.
Rai also advocated for a ban on firecrackers in neighboring states, underscoring the necessity of collaborative endeavors to combat pollution. He stressed that the Supreme Court’s directives could lead to deliberations and the enforcement of regulations regarding firecrackers in adjacent regions, emphasizing the importance of collective action in addressing this issue.
On Wednesday, the pollution levels in Delhi reverted to the “severe” category, just one day after a minor improvement in air quality. According to data from the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the Air Quality Index (AQI) reached 398 at 5:18 pm. Currently, Stage IV of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) is in effect in the national capital, as air quality deteriorated to the “severe plus” category.