When the dust settles...

Unpleasant Statistics

When the dust settles...

There’s no doubt that pollution in the City is a matter of concern. And it’s only increasing day by day. In fact, statistics released by the Centre for Science and Environment and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), had indicated that the City stands among the 14 most polluted cities under particulate matter in the country. Metrolife talked to the authorities and concerned Bangaloreans to understand more about this issue.

Dr Vaman Acharya, the chairman of the KSPCB, says, “There are about 45 lakh vehicles on the road. The transport sector is a major contributor to the high level of particulate matter in the air. The different contributors to air pollution in the City are vehicles (45 per cent), industries (14 per cent), construction (14 per cent), road dust (20 per cent) and other factors like diesel generator sets (almost seven per cent).”

Two-wheelers are major contributors to pollution as they are made of 20 to 25 metals like cadmium, nickel and chromium. Friction inside the engine adds fine dust to the smoke emitted by the vehicle. “Of the vehicular pollution in the City, 75 per cent is contributed by two-wheelers,” Vaman clarifies.

He also says that while dust in rural areas is generally brown, dust in Bangalore is black. This has been observed by samples collected by the Respirable Dust Samplers installed across the City.

Ask Vaman what will help to curb this situation and he’s quick to reply, “There is a 14-point agenda for the City, which includes widening of roads, control of adulteration of fuel, periodical emission checking and more. Bringing all of them together will surely help this issue.” Other measures, which have already been implemented, include the BMTC introducing more buses, the BBMP widening the roads and the BDA building more flyovers.
Most Bangaloreans are aware of the situation.

Suresh Heblikar, an environmentalist, also states that the number of vehicles on the road — especially two-wheelers — is a major contributor to the pollution.

“Bangalore is undoubtedly one of the most polluted cities in the country. One has to keep in mind that Bangalore has an undulating landscape. Thus, particulate matter stays suspended in the air and settles down with pollen towards night. The pollution level is at its peak between 9 pm and early morning because of this,” details Suresh.

“Thus, asthma cases are increasing in children. They leave for school early in the morning and are the most exposed to these harmful components,” he states.

He adds that the situation isn’t so bad in coastal areas or areas around water bodies like Mumbai or Chennai.

“People really feel the pollution in Bangalore when they come from other places,,” Suresh points out.

Bangaloreans are concerned about this issue and are making conscious attempts to curb it. Prathap Rao, a brand manager, opines, “Whenever we can, my employees and I resort to car-pooling. Also, the bus services in the City are fairly good. That is a good option.”

Prathap feels that once the Metro work is complete, there should be less traffic on the roads. “During festivals, like Deepavali, I do not burst crackers. Adding to the pollution gives me no joy,” he says.

Pooja Sriram, a professional, says, “The increase in people suffering from allergies and breathing problems is an indication of the rising pollution. Apart from car-pooling and encouraging the use of public transport, the trend of cycling to work is also catching on. My husband and his friend have bought bicycles. Encouraging this will make a change.”

Not everyone seems to know what to do, though. Dirk Lewis, a communications professional, points out, “The government and authorities need to make strict rules about the number of vehicles on the road.”

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