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The Results Are in From Delhi's Partial Car Ban

Air quality didn't improve—but that doesn't mean it was a failure.
A traffic police official protects himself from Delhi's smog while at work in December 2015.
A traffic police official protects himself from Delhi's smog while at work in December 2015.Reuters/Adnan Abidi

In Delhi, 2016 started with a ban. On January 1, the city government launched a 15-day trial to limit the number of cars on the roads, with the goal of reducing the dangerously high level of air pollution. The plan called for cars with odd- and even-numbered license plates to run on alternate days.

The government has called the trial a success, but official air-quality data and independent air pollution analyses available for that time-period don’t support that view. Delhi’s air quality in the first week of January was, on average, 20 to 25 percent worse than it had been the week before, and worse than it had been over the same period in January 2015, write Rukmini S and Samarth Bansal in The Hindu. Here’s how they sum up their assessment of the ban (with some British spelling):