Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

Delhi Still Chokes on Smog Despite Banning Half Its Cars

Illustration for article titled Delhi Still Chokes on Smog Despite Banning Half Its Cars

On January 1st, Delhi enacted a two-week pilot project allowing private cars on the roads only on alternate days in order to reduce pollution. As the experiment comes to a close, the city is still choking on smog.

Advertisement

The scheme saw the city allow private cars use the roads based on the last digit of their license plate: Odd numbers were allowed one day, even on the next. Despite what authorities called an “encouraging start,” the city is still blanketed in smog, as you can see in these images.

Illustration for article titled Delhi Still Chokes on Smog Despite Banning Half Its Cars
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Delhi Still Chokes on Smog Despite Banning Half Its Cars

As our own Alissa Walker explained when the trial began, part of the problem was policing the ban:

There are... plenty of exemptions: women, politicians, judges, police, prison officials, and anyone who can prove they’re sick. Plus motorbikes, which can be the dirtiest form of transportation, are not included in the restrictions. Auto rickshaws are also still allowed.

Illustration for article titled Delhi Still Chokes on Smog Despite Banning Half Its Cars
Illustration for article titled Delhi Still Chokes on Smog Despite Banning Half Its Cars
Advertisement

Of course, even if it had worked, the initiative was never going to be a long-term fix: Schools were closed until January 15th so that their buses could be repurposed as public transport.

Larger and and more sustainable changes will required if Delhi’s to clean up its air for good.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Delhi Still Chokes on Smog Despite Banning Half Its Cars


All images by AP

Advertisement

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

We had this system in Nigeria back when I was growing up there. All it did was make people buy more cars - My parents each had one odd and one even numbered car, and if I wanted to drive I would ALWAYS have the wrong one. I then had to bribe the cops every single day I was out. This gave rise to an infamous quote by my dad when he found out I was “over-tipping” them.

“Never ever give the cops more than N10. Unless you kill someone, then N20.”

We ended up having 7 cars, which was pretty average so everyone still drove every day. I hear they’ve abandoned that whole idea now. The only people who won were the cops and the car dealers.