Odd-Even scheme too little, too late: Environmentalist

New Delhi: Just a day after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a rerun of the odd-even scheme from November 4 to 15, Vimlendu Jha, an environmentalist, on Saturday said that headline management will not help in combating the menace of air pollution and actual concrete governance is required.

Speaking to ANI, Jha said, “The kind of issue Delhi is facing is big. Odd-Even is too little and too late. Sometimes I feel that this is like headline management rather than actual concrete governance. If you see the National Clean Air Programme, a couple of odd hundred of crores will be spent to combat air pollution in the country. It needs to be a part of the political agenda…It needs to be a part of the political urgency…rather than just headline management. I am happy that the conversation on air pollution is taking place but there is a need for action rather than posturing…,” he said.

“Though I am happy that this Odd-Even is taking place in November before the weeks when the pollution level peaks. But, it also very unfortunate that every time we talk about pollution, the easy narrative to build is about Odd-Even scheme. Empirically, all studies have shown that Odd-Even only reduces pollution by only 2 to 3 per cent,” the founder of Swechha added.

Jha also talked about the causes of air pollution in Delhi and stressed that a concrete long-term plan is required to combat the menace.

“The pollution levels are increasing in Delhi because of the lack of public transport and the way construction is happening. Not only that, but the deficit of trees is also an issue which is increasing the pollution levels in the national capital. The state government must also address the issue of burning of waste and include it in its list of agendas. We need a concrete long-term, medium-term plan to combat air pollution,” he said.

The environment crusader also slammed leaders for politicising the issue of air pollution in Delhi and suggested that the Centre and the State government must sit together to resolve the issue.

“Rather than making it a political issue between AAP and BJP, it is high time that this juvenile level of politics, this irresponsible form of governance we have been seeing in case of air pollution, needs to take a pause. They need to sit with each other and find out the solution. Everyone is saying that air pollution will reduce in the future. Delhi citizens cannot stop breathing for the next two years by the time air quality will improve. At present, we are breathing toxic air. Gadkari might have a disagreement on the scheme, even I have a disagreement with only resting the onus on Odd-Even. We need to do 20 things to combat air pollution and the last would be odd-even,” he said.

“If he (Nitin Gadkari) thinks that odd-even would not work then give us an alternative. Give us a National Clean programme that is robust and accountable. rather than just picking up fights with each other,” Jha added.

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