London cracks down on polluting vehicles. Should Delhi take a cue?
The London air may be far safer to breathe than the current air in Delhi but the capital city of the UK is still determined to ensure that heavily polluting vehicles steer clear of its metropolitan areas. As such, authorities here have decided to expand London's ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) which means all old and polluting vehicles entering metropolitan areas would have to soon pay a sizeable amount for a passage ahead.
London mayor Sadiq Khan said that all old and heavily-polluting vehicles will have to pay an entry fees to access the city's metropolitan area from August of next year. He further said that pollution from such vehicles was making people in London ‘sick from cradle to the grave.’ At the time of filing of this report, the London AQI was 40 while in Delhi, it was over 300. Vehicular pollution is one of several factors for Delhi's polluted air but can India's capital city take a cue from London?
Khan claims that ULEZ has been a transformational move. ULEZ restricts the entry of old and polluting vehicles from London's central areas but will soon also cover the Greater London area which is home to nine million people. How the entire system works is if a said vehicle does not meet ULEZ emission standards, then to enter a ULEZ zone, one would have to pay a fees as high as 12.50 pounds (approximately ₹1,200) per day. This is also applicable for residents within ULEZ but with vehicles that do not meet ULEZ emission standards.
Obviously then, the move to expand ULEZ has not pleased many as residents mostly are against paying extra for driving a vehicle they own. In several cases, driving to ULEZ is essential for many and part of a daily work routine. But Khan has justified the move to expand ULEZ by saying that London air remains harmful for people here. “There is still far too much toxic air pollution permanently damaging the health of young Londoners and leading to thousands of early deaths every year, with the greatest number of deaths in the outer London boroughs," he said, according to BBC.