Rising pollution threatens AP traffic cops

Health woes

The exploding vehicular population and the consequent air pollution in Hyderabad, the fifth largest metropolitan city in the country, have threatened the health of the traffic police personnel, whose number is inadequate to manage the thickening traffic.

A health survey conducted by the city police said 32 per cent of the city traffic police personnel suffer from lung-related diseases like pneumonia and bronchitis as they work in an atmosphere where air is highly polluted.

About 25 per cent of the traffic police are facing hearing impairment due to high-level of noise pollution while another 7 per cent complained about eye-related problems caused by carbon and dust particles. According to official figures, there are 3,236 traffic police personnel, including 19 inspectors, 77 sub-inspectors, 13 assistant sub-inspectors, 172 head constables, 846 constables and 1,276 home guards, posted in various cadres of the city.

Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) C V Anand made a presentation before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science, Technology, Environment and Forests recently. He said the growth in number of automobiles has led to severe air pollution which in turn has taken a toll on the health of city traffic police over the years.

The death of three police constables, who succumbed to health problems while performing duty at Abids, Kukatpally and Rethibowli high-traffic corridors attests the ACP’s argument.

As on August 31, 2012, the core city alone had 25.8 lakh vehicles. If the sub-urban areas of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation are taken into consideration, the number crosses 35 lakh. Of them, 74 per cent are two-wheelers, while 15 per cent are cars and three per cent are auto-rickshaws.

The main polluting vehicles, according to the officials, are autorickshaws, state-run RTC buses, vehicles which are more than 15 years old and the government transport vehicles. “Of the 585 traffic junctions in the city, 125 are identified as highly-polluted zones while 200 are medium-pollution zones,” the ACP said.

The police on traffic duty are given a disposable nose mask every day besides Polaroid dark spectacles and rain coats. Despite these measures, the pollution-related diseases are on the rise.

Anand suggested amendments to the Central Motor Vehicle Act to incorporate strict measures against pollutant vehicles. “An additional section 185 (b) should be incorporated in the Central MV Act for both air and sound pollution with clauses for imposing heavy penalty and imprisonment for persons driving polluting vehicles,” he said.

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