A sharp increase in the number of motorcycles and cars in Delhi, mainly because of the purchasing capacity of young people, has contributed to an increase in air pollution in the national capital, according to a 10-year analysis done by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Delhi and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
Vehicular emissions, especially from two-wheelers, are the predominant source of air pollution in the city, say the analysis published in the latest issue of the Atmosphere Pollution Research Journal.
The data for the period 2000 to 2010 compiled by the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences at IIT-Delhi and CPCB shows that emissions of carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen oxide (NOX) have increased nearly 77 per cent and 29 per cent, respectively.
Emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) have greatly reduced (21 per cent) due to the phasing out of diesel-driven buses.
Emissions of particulate matter (PM10), organic carbon (OC) and black carbon (BC) were found to be continuously increasing after 2002 due to a rapid rise in the annual growth of registered vehicles in Delhi.
Currently, there are 5.38 million two-wheelers registered in Delhi.
“Two-wheelers, which constitute 60 per cent of total registered vehicles, have been found to be major contributors towards emissions of pollutants considered in the analysis. This increase was also attributed to the buying capacity and fascination for new bikes and cars among Delhiites,” said the study done by Rati Sindhwan and Dr. Pramila Goyal of the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences.
Delhi, one of the fastest-growing economic centres of South Asia, has seen a rapid increase in its vehicular population in the past decade.
The city accounts for about eight per cent of the total registered vehicles in India.
According to the CPCB, the city has more registered vehicles than the combined number of vehicles in Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata.