City must watch 'rising' pollution levels in winter, KSPCB warns

Moderate weather and steady rainfall may have made Bengaluru's air quality better than Delhi NCR, but the city could be headed for foggier days as dry winter sets in.

Karnataka State Pollution Control Board has urged caution during the winter season, as the city is not entirely immuned from the muck.

It says pollution in the city is caused by vehicular movement (42%), road dust (20%), construction and industrial activities (14%) and garbage incineration (3%). The fact that nearly 70 lakh vehicles ply in the congested city roads do not board well for the air quality.

A KSPCB official who is part of a Supreme Court-appointed team to monitor pollution says Bengaluru has to handle vehicular emissions and road dust, though it may have geography and other factors like moderate minimum temperature in its favour.

"Inversion effect is more in Bengaluru than in Delhi," the official part of the five-member pollution monitoring team the Supreme Court has set up- pointed out. "High humidity and low temperature create rise in pollution levels."

Bengaluru is seventh in the list of most polluted Indian cities, while "gas chamber" Delhi shuffles between the top two positions with noticeable discomfort.

Particulate matter 10 and 2.5 ug/m3 which are most dangerous to human health- are higher in some areas of Bengaluru, the official pointed out.

Against the permissible levels of 100, levels of PM10 were 140 in Yelahanka and 133 in Central Silk Board (CSB). This needs to be curbed severely, the official said.

KSPCB records reveal Bengaluru's air quality index (AQI) has been around satisfactory levels. The pollution level ranges between 51 and 100 on the AQI graph.

While levels between 0 and 50 is considered good, pollution in the range of 100 to 200 will be regarded moderate and is likely to cause breathing difficulties to city dwellers.

In September, AQI touched 109 at CSB, 106 at ITPL and 91 at Swan silk Pvt Limited in Peenya. In August, Yelahanka's Rail Wheel Factory registered 113 in AQI, while it touched 128 in CSB.

In July the AQI was 101 in Yelahanka and 117 at CSB. In June the AQI was 100 in ITPL, 140 in Yelahanka and 122 in Domlur.

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