Flush out polluting vehicles, enforce rules strictly

Flush out polluting vehicles, enforce rules strictly

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With the vehicular population crossing 80 lakh this year in Bengaluru, environmentalists rue that at least half of them on roads are more than 15 years old, choking the air with carbon emissions.

Enforcement agencies may be on their jobs, checking fitness and pollution certificates of these vehicles. But environmentalists reiterate that poisonous carbon emissions and particles come out of a vehicle’s engine at a much higher pace as it ages.

Badrinath Vankadari, a businessman rues that emissions from these old vehicles harm the health of citizens, besides impacting the climatic balance and temperature of the city. He insists that stricter laws for the aged vehicles and their effective enforcement by the police are required for the city.

He explains, “Just like in the European Union, we need regular and compulsory technical inspection of vehicles to maintain optimal functioning. It is good for the vehicle owners and people on the roads. This will help with pollution control and ensure road safety. Also, buying new cars help the economy.”

Shantha Kumar HR, a teacher draws attention to the health hazards of letting these vehicles run in the city. His work commute, largely covering the Outer Ring Road stretch to Whitefield, has such high and polluting carbon emissions that his fresh shirts and face are speckled with black dust everyday.

“This issue of old vehicles has been dragged on for several years from when the government wanted to first scrap old trucks and vehicles. Efforts are needed to shift to eco-friendly and renewable energies. Even government vehicles are highly polluting. The pollution control board is ineffective in our city. We need change,” he says.

Veena Bhat, a resident points out that large buses and lorries are more of a menace than private cars. “Vehicles that are well-maintained and certified for emission tests are fine. But the large vehicles pollute so much that I roll up my windows immediately. Vehicles older than the recommended life period must be sent to the dumping yard, like in other countries,” she says.

Mass public transport is a key solution to the problem, according to Dinesh Amitha, Head, Accessories, Titan Company Ltd. He stresses on the need to identify arterial areas of the city which has major commuter movement and improve public transport there.

For instance, places such as Whitefield and Electronic City have thousands of IT people who commute everyday. “Large companies can add to the efforts by providing shared transport to employees,” he elaborates.

“In our company, we have large company vans ferrying employees everyday. Our Managing Director also takes the company van to set an example. But we need even the BMTC to take initiative by scrapping their old vehicles. Many of them are well over 15 years old,” Dinesh Amitha points out.

On the sales slump in the automobile industry, he hopes that some part of the drop is due to people moving towards public transport such as the Metro, Ola and Uber. “It is fair that such vehicles should be off the roads. We need to cleanse the system. So many vehicles are coming onto the roads. We need to flush the old things out.”

He stresses on the need to bring in a strict law as everything has its shelf life where it functions at maximum capacity. “While it seems authoritarian, we also need control on the number of vehicles allowed in a household.”

The time has come to take extreme steps, he feels. “Bengaluru roads have reached a tipping point that needs drastic change and this will just be the first step to getting our city back. We’ve lost our city.”