Govt Employees In This UT Ordered To Use Bicycle Once A Week; Banned From Using Scooter, Cars!
The Lakshadweep administration has declared Wednesday of every week as ‘Cycle Day’ for government employees.
The move aims to curb pollution in the Union Territory.
This will come into effect from April 6.
To Dos And Don’ts
The decision was made during the meeting of the 13th Lakshadweep Pollution Control Committee held on January 28.
According to the rule, all officials or employees (except persons with disabilities and medical cases) will not be allowed to use motor vehicles for commuting to the workplace.
They will have to use only non-motorable transportation like bicycles in all Islands of Lakshadweep.
Delhi Most Polluted Capital
Meanwhile, the national capital has once again become the most polluted capital in the world.
In 2021 Delhi had exceeded WHO’s air pollution guidelines by more than 10 times for seven months, from January to April and from October to December.
The 2021 World Air Quality Report found that of the 15 most polluted cities in Central and South Asia, 11 were in India.
Health And Economic Effects
Air pollution is one of the top causes of premature deaths worldwide.
It acts as a causal factor in several medical issues including chronic pulmonary and heart conditions, strokes, lung cancers and respiratory infections, among others.
In India, the pollution’s toll on the economy is estimated at around $150 billion annually.
India has rolled out a number of policies targeting various sources of air pollution.
However, none have had any positive impact on air quality which has consistently worsened.
Flagship policies such as the National Clean Air Programme, launched in 2019 to tackle the problem in 100 of India’s most polluted cities, have suffered from underfunding and poor design.
Three years later, the targeted cities have shown little progress.
In some cases – such as in Chennai and Mumbai – pollution has increased.
Poor design of the policy refers to the lack of accounting for emissions coming from outside since it requires cities to reduce pollution within their boundaries.
The flaw in the logic is that cities have geographical boundaries but there is no boundary in the air.
As a result, officers in the Delhi government have lost faith in the programme, experts say.
However, Delhi is leading by example when it comes to taking a scientific approach to the matter.
It has undertaken understanding of the nature and dynamics of the toxic air enveloping its community.
The government is also considering the use of satellite data to identify areas that require urgent attention.
Need Of The Hour
Now all that’s remaining is to convert information into effective action.
Governments need to focus on comprehensive policies targeting the problem in its entirety including investing in specialised workforces and increasing citizens’ engagement.
It is easy to draw up plans and policies but it will be no good if it just remains on paper.