New Delhi once again claimed the top spot in the infamous list of the world’s most polluted capitals. India is also home to 21 of the 30 most polluted cities in the world, as per IQ AirVisual, a Swiss-based group that gathers air quality data.
Vehicular and industrial emissions contribute largely to Delhi’s toxic air. This had prompted Delhi authorities to consider experimenting with car-free zones in areas such as Connaught Place, a plan first mooted in 2017 which was shelved due to opposition from the local traders who contented that this would affect their business.
Most modern cities and developments are built considering vehicular traffic, making provisions for wider roads, parking and more road infrastructure. While this makes travel convenient, it has also led to several problems including pollution, congestion and an increase in traffic accidents.
Some towns across the world are car-free by default, while other major cities are experimenting with making certain areas car-free. While they may be difficult to emulate in larger cities such as Delhi and Mumbai, there are lessons in planning we can learn from them that can be applied to smaller towns across the country.