Update: The red light on, Gaadi Off campaign, originally scheduled to begin 28th Oct (Friday) is postponed as it is yet to receive the approval of the Delhi L-G VK Saxena.
The nation’s capital Delhi has always topped the list of the country’s most polluted cities and this year is no different. Soon after the celebrations of Diwali, the Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi reached the ‘very poor’ mark and it seems like it is not going to improve without any strict actions. So in an effort to combat the rising pollution levels in the city, the government of Delhi has announced that it will be launching a campaign to help the condition. According to the government the “Red Light on Gaadi off” which first debuted in October 2020, will be making a comeback on October 28, 2022.
According to the minister for Environment, Forest & Wildlife, Development and General Administration in Government of Delhi, Gopal Rai, this campaign will help in curbing the increasing vehicular pollution. At a press conference, the minister stated, “The Delhi government is on alert. We are strictly implementing all the directions of the Commission for Air Quality Management. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday reviewed the implementation of the 15-point action plan to curb air pollution in winter,”
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The “Red light on gaadi off” campaign will, as the name implies, urge individuals to turn off their ignition at traffic junctions as they wait for the signal to turn green. 2,500 civil defence volunteers will be stationed at 100 important traffic crossings as part of the programme. The concentration will be on 10 important traffic crossroads, where 20 volunteers each will be stationed. Ten volunteers will be deployed at each traffic light in two shifts. The 12-hour shifts will be split into two halves, the first from 8 am to 2 pm and the second from 2 pm to 8 pm each day.
Media sources state that volunteers would utilize banners and placards to spread awareness. Many individuals, according to Rai, did not follow the campaign last year. Additionally, he stated that paryavaran mitra, resident welfare groups, market bodies, environment clubs, and NGOs will all actively participate in the campaign alongside public representatives and government officials.
According to data from the Petroleum Conservation Research Association, pollution may be reduced by 13 to 20% if individuals turn off their engines at traffic lights. Additionally, 80% of the nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide in Delhi’s air are contributed by vehicles. As per government estimates, 28% of Delhi’s PM2.5 emissions come from the transportation sector. After Diwali was observed on October 24, Delhi’s AQI fell into the “very bad” category. On the day of the event, several parts of the national capital violated a general prohibition on the usage and sale of firecrackers.
The ‘Red light on gaadi off’ campaign is not a new campaign for Delhi as the same campaign was launched back on October 16, 2020, to reduce vehicle pollution in the capital. The environment minister said that this year’s action was being repeated because specialists had forecasted that if the wind direction changed after Diwali, pollution levels would rise. Vehicle emissions, along with dust and biomass burning, are among the main causes of Delhi’s pollution, according to Rai.
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