The Delhi government plans to get an audit of its ambitious 'Red Light On, Gaadi Off' drive conducted by a third party, officials said on Thursday. Under the campaign launched on October 16, 2020, to cut down vehicular pollution in the national capital, drivers are encouraged to switch off their vehicles while waiting for the traffic light to turn green.
"A proposal for a third-party audit of the drive has been sent to the environment minister's office. We are awaiting the nod. We will try to assess the impact of the drive on vehicular pollution," an official said. Another official said the drive is planned this year too. "Whether any campaign is a success or not depends on public participation. The people need to fulfil their responsibility in the fight against pollution," he said.
At the launch of the campaign at the ITO traffic signal in October 2020, Environment Minister Gopal Rai had said vehicular pollution in Delhi can be reduced by 15 to 20 per cent if commuters turn off their vehicle engines while waiting at traffic signals. Data from the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) shows that if people switch off engines at traffic signals, pollution can be cut down by 13-20 per cent.
According to government estimates, the transport sector accounts for 28 per cent of the PM2.5 emissions in Delhi. Vehicular contribution also makes up 80 per cent of nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide in Delhi's air. A total of 1.33 crore vehicles are registered in Delhi currently. The count of vehicles in the national capital more than doubled to 643 per thousand population in 2019-20 from 317 in 2005-06.
The Delhi government spent Rs 10.46 crore on advertisements related to the campaign in the year 2020-21, according to a reply to an RTI application. The city government's advertising agency, Shabdarth, said it did not incur any expenses on ads pertaining to the drive in the year 2021-22. As part of the 'Red Light On, Gaadi Off' campaign, the Environment Department deploys civil defence volunteers at major traffic junctions in the city who ensure the commuters kill the engine while waiting at traffic signals, and hand out pamphlets carrying information on vehicular pollution.
The department deployed around 2,500 civil defence volunteers in two shifts of 8 am to 2 pm and 2 pm to 8 pm at 100 traffic junctions in the latest leg of the campaign from October 18 to December 18 last year. The government pays Rs 700 a day to every volunteer, according to officials.
With PTI Inputs