Delhi’s Car Ban Has Little Impact on PM2.5 Levels

In its fourth day of a 15 day test, the odd-even number plate scheme appears to have had little impact on PM2.5 – the most harmful type of air pollution. PM2.5 particles primarily come from diesel engines, the type of engines used by buses, backup generators and commercial vehicles.

The latest readings from the US Consulate in Delhi show that the air quality index, which is calculated on the amount of PM2.5 particles in the air, has changed little.


The Delhi Government has set up live monitoring stations that display the air quality index of PM2.5 and PM10 and right now there is little difference – the numbers might be going down but they are still at dangerous levels.

This scheme is going to be a challenge for both the Government who will face criticism for inconveniencing citizens and the police who will need the numbers to enforce this ban.

No doubt that many of the more wealthy citizens of Delhi will just see the Rs 2,000 fine as some kind of congestion charge and decide that paying Rs 28,000 over the next 15 days is just the cost of convenience.

With over 500 tickets being issues since 1st January, perhaps people think they might have some leeway because of the holidays. As everyone returns to work today after the winter break we’ll have to see how much Delhites value having their car.

If, on the 16th January it is found that the odd-even scheme didn’t reduce pollution significantly – which is likely – the Government will have a bigger job on its hands to reduce the air pollution from industries and crop burning.

4th January update, 6pm: The air pollution in Delhi remained at hazardous levels throughout the day, levels which the US environment agency says is bad enough to cause health problems in even the healthiest of people.