Bangers banned in New Delhi


A court ruling has seen bangers banned in New Delhi. The National Green Tribunal, a court in India that tries cases pertaining to environmental issues, has banned vehicles of more than 15 years of age from the streets of the country’s capital. A study by the World Health Organisation found the air of the city to be the dirtiest in the world – eight times worse than the average, although the Indian government disputed the report.

As much as a third of the 8.4 million auto-rickshaws, motorbikes, cars and trucks in New Delhi and its environs will be affected. The Tribunal ruled: “It is undisputed and in fact unquestionable that the air pollution of … Delhi is getting worse with each passing day.” With bangers banned in New Delhi, air quality might improve: New Delhi’s government estimated that nigh on three quarters of the city’s air pollution comes from vehicular emissions.

Old vehicles were banned from driving in Mexico City on Saturdays earlier in 2014. In Russia, sales of Ladas increased due to a state scheme that provides a cash incentive to people who sell their old cars for scrap. While there are no incentives for compliance in India, sales could be boosted for such carmakers as Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki India now we have bangers banned in New Delhi. The capital accounts for 17 percent of new car sales in India. New Delhi accounts for 17 percent of new car sales in India.

Banger banning will be enforced in several ways. The drivers of offending vehicles will be fined and the vehicles can be towed away. It will not be possible to register ancient vehicles. Complaints can be made online. How some problems will be faced is not yet clear: there aren’t enough scrapyards to dispose of all the prohibited vehicles or police compounds in which to store them. One police source remarked, “Our pits and other facilities are cramped as it is.”

1,500 new vehicles appear on New Delhi’s streets each day. Anumita Roychowdhury of the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment protested that pollution can emanate from vehicles of any vintage, although Anil Chikkara of the Transport Department blamed cheap two-wheelers driven by two-stroke engines, banned in 1999 but still used. A study published in the journal, Energy Policy, agreed with Chikkara, estimating that between 30 and 50 percent of emissions originated from vehicles of more than 10 years of age. Bangers banned in New Delhi may well be a step forward.

Roychowdhury saw more merit in taxing those vehicles that have been proven to pollute more. As she spelled out further: “You really need to scale up public transport and you need to reduce the overall volume of vehicles on the road.”

How effective this move will be could be questioned. People continue to park illegally despite a crackdown.

Sources: (1) Reuters, (2) Times of India

About the Author Timothy Chilman

Timothy Chilman used to work in IT. Once, in Sydney, he was turned down for a job because he was “too flamboyant” (“Someone who wears green tartan suspenders to a job interview probably isn’t going to fit in here”). Timothy then became an English teacher. University students in Bangkok complained that he was “too enthusiastic” and company students in Prague complained that he was “too theatrical.”

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