Government holds second “car-free day” to clean Delhi air

Indian capital New Delhi observes its second “car-free day” in south west area in a bid to control air pollution and traffic congestion.

NEW DELHI, INDIA (NOVEMBER 22, 2015) (ANI) – Indian capital New Delhi observed its second “car-free day” on Sunday (November 22) in south west Dwarka area in a bid to control air pollution and traffic congestion.

Delhi government organised a six-kilometre cycle rally from Sector 3 to Sector 11 to observe the day. Proper provisions like parking and signage boards indicating the car-free stretch were also made.

Delhi observed its first “car-free day” on October 22 when government kept a 7-kilometre stretch between the historical Red Fort and India Gate, a memorial for unknown soldiers, free from vehicles.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia were also present at the cycle rally on Sunday in an endeavour to encourage people to use public transport and help reduce pollution levels.

Kejriwal said there was a drop in pollution levels when vehicles went off the congested Delhi roads last month.

“On the day when the first “car-free day” was observed, when Delhi government and NGO, Centre for Science and Environment checked the pollution level, they found the roads on which no-car day was observed had pollution level decreased by 60 percent,” said Kejriwal.

In Dwarka, people of all ages participated in the cycling event, which was also attended by police officers.

Meanwhile, Kejriwal urged the citizens to cycle to their offices on “car-free day” in January to contribute in making Delhi a better capital city.

“On December 22, “car-free day” will be celebrated in east Delhi. It is a very good thought but I won’t be present in the city on that day. But on January 22, when it is a Monday and a working day, I think then we should observe “car-free day” in whole of Delhi by going to our offices on bicycles. Even I will cycle to my office on that day,” added Kejriwal.

Several awareness programmes are being launched as part of the government’s initiative to curb pollution levels in the city.

High pollution levels have worried environmentalists, public and the authorities in the city of 16 million people, which the World Health Organisation last year said had the worst air quality in the world. India rejected the report’s findings.

Initiatives to clean up Delhi’s air have hit roadblocks in the past. A directive this year to ban all vehicles older than 15 years has been delayed and previous city governments have often ignored court orders to address pollution woes.

Pollution levels in Indian cities have often been compared to China’s Beijing. The WHO study last year said Delhi had the worst air quality out of the 1,600 cities surveyed worldwide.