We need to support AAP's odd theory for a clean Delhi

Kishwar Desai
Kishwar DesaiDec 05, 2015 | 10:51

We need to support AAP's odd theory for a clean Delhi

Even those who are not fans of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government will know that at last we will have to support them, in their effort to clean up the Delhi air.

Spoilt as we are, there can't be any easy solution to reversing or even stalling climate change. We all want non-stop energy for our television sets and our internet, our refrigerators and laptops. Our dependence on fossil fuels, even if we do not live in deprived areas, without electricity, can only grow.


Our biggest drawback is that (like the proverbial grasshopper) we have not planned for the day when we need alternative life style choices. Our public transport systems are hopeless. They have just not kept up with the rapidly increasing population. We choke up our waterbodies with plastic and other garbage and think nothing of cutting down trees for Christmas cards.

Yet, the enormous degradation of our air and water, should force us to become serious, and especially in areas like Delhi. The capital is one of worst cities to live in, and in recent weeks, we have learnt of it even more, as a thick smog hangs over us.

The ones it affects the most is of course the really young children and the elderly as they are the most vulnerable. It also affects those who are desperately poor, living by the roadside in makeshift homes or trying to earn their living as beggars.

But because this smog is a silent killer, no one really pays attention to it, even as it enters our lungs and begins to shorten lives.

To be asked by the courts to find a solution is bad enough, but now for other political parties to hunt for reasons to decry the efforts of AAP, seem rather short sighted.


Thus AAP has come up with their own formula to restore some of the Delhi air. They have decided to begin by reducing the number of cars on the road on any given day, and cars with licence plates with odd and even numbers will be on the road on alternate days. This decision has not gone down well, among the middle classes, and political parties jumped in. But the truth is that these kinds of desperate measures have been tried in other cities in other countries as well.

Of course, the difference is that if it is done anywhere in Europe, there is a good public transport system to back it up. This is therefore something the AAP government must concentrate on, because without an alternative it will certainly cause a huge problem for Delhi citizens.

Yet, an experiment like this will have to be done, as we are left with few choices. Perhaps wider consultations are needed and employers of companies will also have to step in and see how things can be changed, and how they could offer more flexitime to employees, or even alternate means of transport .


For many of us, using cars in Delhi is a necessity not a luxury, because there is no choice. In London, for instance, we do not own a car at all, because it is so easy and simple to use buses or trains or the underground tubes.

We might have to wait and see what kind of final plan the AAP government comes up with , before we comment further. But overall, Delhi has little choice. Even if we cannot welcome the idea of not being able to use our cars on half of the week, we will have to accommodate these lifestyle changes. Many other things will also need to be done, alongside.

Other political parties should focus on creating an alternate viable plan, and not waste time in criticising the AAP government on what is clearly an unavoidable choice. We need clean air, not hot air!

Last updated: December 24, 2015 | 15:06
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