Odd-Even Road Rationing: Phase Two in New Delhi

New Delhi-

The first phase of New Delhi’s odd-even road-rationing scheme was completed in January of this year, the second phase of which will be initiated in mid April. The project aims to properly measure the amount of pollution caused by traffic on any given day. Weather plays a crucial part in measuring carbon emissions with certain times of year being more problematic than others. Winter weather poses issues with irregularity in weather conditions. In cold weather, the polluting particles remain close to the surface of the road and contribute to smog. In the hotter months, unstable hydrocarbons and other compounds create a photochemical reaction with NOx emissions and create ozone. Officials are hoping that the second phase will give more accurate readings and help to support local taxation for polluting automobiles and restructuring of public transportation to include 1000 more busses on the road. The safety limit for emissions of this nature is 100 micrograms per cubic meter. Last year from the middle to the end of April saw ranges from 120-250 micrograms per cubic meter.  

Restricting vehicles on the road is one component in the cavalcade of changes and reforms being encouraged by industry specialists. A further step in reducing automobile pollution would be to impose discouraging taxation on private vehicles and encourage use of public transport. Fining visibly polluting vehicles and implementing parking curbs have also been tabled at recent government meetings

The Central Pollution Control Board’s focuses their monitoring on roadside emissions when calculating annual pedestrian pollution. Anumita Roy Chowdhury, head of the clean air program at the Centre for Science and Environment says that the odd-even approach of having half of private vehicles off the roads at any given time can be assessed effectively through the CPCB model. She went on to emphasize the importance of a newly defined pedestrian and cycle based infrastructure and taxation that discourages vehicles and drives pollution out of key areas like Okhla industrial area in East Delhi.

IIT Kanpur releases an annual report on national air quality relied on by the government to assess practices regarding pollution control. Private vehicles make up the majority of emissions in populated areas. However, the report also identified other components that make up for 40% of the matter that pollutes in hot weather. These particles are made up of road dust and soil as well as airborne fly ash. The report addresses the issue of poor maintenance when concerned with proper storage and transport of fly ash. Whether in use or not, the summer months dries the fly ash, making it more likely to become airborne.

Gold Coal and Abandon Mines: New Ash Utilization Methods in Most Polluted Cities in the World

India- Delhi tops the list as one of the most polluted cities in the world. India, in fact, is home to thirteen out of twenty most polluted cities (World Health Organisation). Pollution here is caused by inefficiencies in the industrial sector (dust and carbon emissions), and the transportation/automobile population in India’s densely populated cities. 

A main contributing factor to industrial emissions depends on the quality of fuel being burned. Choosing competent technology and efficient coal is critical in curbing emissions. The top 13 cities, and surrounding regions are under great pressure to adapt said measures. Reutilization and sustainability has been the goal of power stations and regulators for approximately the past two decade. Current strategies for coal ash reutilization include substituting more expensive ingredients in building materials such as concrete/cement, porcelain, bricks/blocks, and adhesives.

The majority of these cities operate their stations using domestic coal, which is burned unprocessed. This coal has an ash content of 38-45%, which is a directly linked to the environmental issues of: industrial dust and land consumption for the dumping of coal ash. 

The city of Mumbai uses cleaner coal by washing it before entering boilers (gold coal), reducing ash output to 3% in some stations. Mumbai has also implemented upgraded electrostatic precipitators and FGD units, unseen in any of the 13 cities on the list. The city has positioned itself at the head of the cleaner coal energy movement. The calorific value (Kcal) of the coal being burned in Mumbai is also significantly higher and possesses a much lower sulphur dioxide content. This brings down the quantity of coal being used for every unit of power generated.

Recent studies explore the possibility of using fly ash waste as a means to fill up abandon mines. This method is being approached by many coal-fired power plants including NTPC Korba Station, located in Chhattisgarh, who began exploring this option for its ash this past December.  The company will conduct the study on 4 abandon mines in Banki fields just outside the city, planning to publish results by the end of 2016. 

NTPC power has had a division of the company dedicated to ash reutilization since 1991. NTPC stations overall have switched to higher grade coal since then to combat the amount of ash burned in their stations, and also the quantity of coal burned. Success in this new study could lead to NTPC meeting the countries 100% utilization initiative. 
NTPC appears to be at a higher level of efficiency when compared to their competitors, as they make up for 16 percent of India’s total installed capacity, yet contribute a quarter of the total electricity generated in the country.  

A current memorandum of understanding between NTPC and Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand governments vow to improve the transportation and utilization of coal.