People, Environment

10m Vehicles Choking Delhi

10m Vehicles Choking Delhi10m Vehicles Choking Delhi

Despite alarming pollution levels, Delhi has seen a surge in private vehicles, while public transport is in decline, environmentalists have warned.

They quoted government figures showing some 10 million vehicles are registered in Delhi—up from nearly nine million a year ago. That is nearly three and a half times more than vehicles registered for Mumbai, India's financial capital.

The warning comes as smog has begun to blanket Delhi, raising health fears. There are concerns that already dangerous air pollution may reach alarming levels once again.

"It is worrying that while Delhi is battling difficult pollution challenge, uncontrolled motorization is threatening to undo the gains of the ongoing action," says Anumitta Roychoudhary of the Center for Science and Environment, which issued the warning.

The center's report says private cars have seen the biggest rise while the number of public transport services, such as buses, is in long-term decline.

Citing government figures, the environmental think-tank said up to 200,000 new cars hit the roads of Delhi in the past 12 months, marking a 20% rise.

There was just over a 6% rise in the previous year.

Experts say the new cars will need parking area equaling 630 football fields.

There was a 10% rise in two-wheelers this year, bringing an additional 400,000 such vehicles on the Indian capital city's streets. Meanwhile, public transport, such as the bus fleet, has been found to be declining year after year. As a result, the center says, buses saw almost 800,000 fewer passengers in the past two years.

A study by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, showed that cars and two-wheelers were responsible for more than 40% of particulate pollution from vehicles in Delhi.

Nearly 20 years ago, India's Supreme Court ordered the country's capital to have 10,000 public buses.

"That order is yet to be implemented and as a result, Delhi now has a little over 5,000 buses and the fleet is constantly declining," said Roychoudhary.


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