Turning Over a New Leaf: How New Delhi Turned Green

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LEft A Civil Defense volunteer guides vehicles in New Delhi during the city’s 15-day “odd-even” vehicle trial (PHOTO © BI XIAOYANG/XINHUA PRESS/CORBIS)

by Shakila Rajendra

At the start of 2016, India’s capital city implemented yet another breakthrough initiative in a push to lose the reputation of being Asia’s most polluted city. In addressing concerns that surround the issue of environmental pollution within India, the government has taken the stance that quick solutions are needed. As a result, over the last few years, New Delhi is fast becoming a city that has some of the most revolutionary greening initiatives.

Among the latest of these initiatives within the transport sector in the city is the selling of an eco-friendly alternative to diesel fuel, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) at a discounted rate during off-peak hours in and around the capital city.

Right School children wearing masks demonstrate at World Environment Day in June 2015

India’s oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan has expressed that this discounted rate along with new traffic rules for vehicles running on diesel fuel will help curb pollution as well as reduce the rush at gas stations during peak hours.

CNG factors prominently on the urban greening initiative for Delhi as the city’s entire public transport system, comprising 13,000 public buses and 55,000 auto-rickshaws already running on the eco-friendly gas. Alongside this are strict enforcements on private vehicles. In a 15-day test run in January, private cars were banned from the roads on alternate days following the odd and even numbers on the vehicle plates.

About 23% of Delhi’s vehicles run on diesel and these emit a significantly higher amount of toxic emissions as compared to petrol. In another step to curb this, the National Green Tribunal in India announced that no new diesel vehicles can be registered.

Check out the rest of this article in Asian Geographic No.117 Issue 2/2016 here or download a digital copy here

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