Every breath you take...

Every breath you take...
Bengaluru seems to be going the Delhi way, given the high incidence of pollution and consequent spike in lung-related diseases.   

The transport sector contributes to almost 42 per cent of air pollution, followed by industries and construction. While environmentalists think the authorities must impose a ban on one family buying more than one car, doctors suggest moves like carpooling and reduction in the burning of garbage and recommend that people live away from industrial areas, like Peenya, for instance. These are just some of the solutions to fight the increasing pollution levels.

Environmentalists have categorised the City into four divisions — industrial, commercial, residential and sensitive areas, which comprise schools, colleges and hospitals.

They point out that areas such as Whitefield, Yeshwantpur and Peenya Industrial Area have touched the maximum ‘respirable suspended particulate matter’ (RSPM) level.

Dr Yellappa Reddy, environmentalist and chief advisor of parks, Department of Horticulture, points out that the burning of garbage has increased because people have stopped segregating garbage.

He feels the rules pertaining to segregation of wet and dry waste have not been enforced. “Burning of garbage releases substances that are carcinogenic in nature and are prime causes of cancer,” he adds.

He also feels that the government must strictly enforce the rules of emission testing. “Pollution also aggravates because of idling vehicles at signal lights. This releases unburned hydrocarbons which mix with nitrogen oxide. The combination of the two splits the oxygen present in the air and further pollutes the atmosphere,” he says.

An efficient public transport system can lessen the use of private vehicles. Many people complain that the public transport system, especially buses, aren’t good enough and don’t ply as frequently as they should.

Rame Gowda, commissioner for Transport and Road Safety, however, refutes this. He points out that vehicles contribute to 49 per cent of the pollution.

“The RTO registers only those vehicles that belong to Euro IV. Autorickshaws that are four stroke and come with a digital meter are registered and we have stopped the registration of two wheelers that aren’t fixed with a four stroke engine,” says Rame Gowda.

He also points out that vehicles that don’t have a fitness and emission certificate will be fined Rs 1000 and the fine amount will increase up to Rs 3000 for repeated offenders.

Ordinary people don’t think twice before conceding that the air pollution has become unbearable in the City.

Sheela V Dange, a counsellor, states, “The roads are bad and this indirectly slows down the movement of vehicles which increase fuel emission. If the public transport system was efficient then people would use it which is not the case in Bengaluru. The frequency and connectivity of buses is poor and autorickshaws never run by the meter. So, people are forced to travel by their own vehicles.”

Echoing a similar sentiment, Vasanthi Raju, a housewife, says, “It’s impossible to ride on the City’s roads because the smoke is almost suffocating. I try to stay indoors as much as I can and venture out only if there is an emergency.”

Doctors advise people to cover their nose whenever they venture out and to stop living near industrial areas. Dr Naresh Bhat, Chief of Medicine, St Philomena’s Hospital, says, “The rising pollution levels have triggered increasing cases of lung-related disorders. Carpooling is the best option in today’s scenario but the law-enforcing agencies must take it up on an urgent basis.” 

People also feel planting more trees could bring down the pollution level to a great extent. Yellappa says the tree toll only vindicates their demand for a scientific approach to everything concerning trees— from the planting of saplings to the pruning and maintenance of trees and pavement construction that has been eating into the roots of the trees.

“Trees are the best air filters and have the ability to grasp RSPM so a scientific analysis of what kind of trees need to be planted and in which places is the need of the hour,” he elaborates.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry