Lessons from the COVID-19 crisis for building solutions
As Indian cities get ready to reopen the economy to secure jobs and livelihoods and end the human misery that the pandemic has occasioned, public transport and safe access have become an urgent necessity. The surreal images of empty roads, crisp clean air and blue skies during the lockdown that caught public imagination are also the evidence of disruption at a scale never witnessed or experienced before.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has estimated that during the lockdown, contribution of vehicles to the overall decline in particulate pollution in cities like Delhi has been profound. Hourly analysis of PM2.5 data on a typical week day shows flattening of the peak hour pollution. This transitory reprieve from pollution and congestion is not expected to last. But everyone is asking what might it take to sustain these gains — are we fated to go back to the regular toxic gridlock?