BENGALURU: Over 20 per cent of pollution in the city comes from road dust and it is the second largest source of air pollution, the first being vehicular emission, which contributes 42 per cent.
While the BBMP has already requested BMTC and the Department of Transport to take measures to improve emission standards of BMTC fleet and upgrade 2-stroke engines to 4-stroke ones and restrict movement of truck more than 15 years old in the city, the civic body too is gearing up to reduce the road dust.
BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad said that road dust was one of the major contributors to air pollution and it cannot be ignored. As the dust levels were rising, BBMP is planning to use technology and has introduced nine mechanical sweepers (eight big and one small) in May last year.
While the bigger machines are capable of cleaning 50 km of road, smaller ones can clean up to 30 km. To avoid traffic congestions, the sweepers are being engaged only between 10 pm and 4 am on every alternate day.The machines are equipped with GPS navigation systems and video recording facilities and help drivers map the city effectively. It is a hit among the residents and requests have been pouring in to BBMP Commissioner to depute more such mechanical sweepers as they are effective in sucking the dust and other particles with ease, while the manual sweeping by pourakarmikas using broomsticks does not effectively clear dust.
While the civic body needs more such mechanical sweepers to cover the arterial and sub-arterial roads in the city, there is stiff opposition among the corporators and pourakarmikas as they fear it will lead to job cuts.
Manjunath Prasad said that a comparative study on the effectiveness of mechanical sweepers vs manual sweepers will be taken up at selected places and has requested the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board to take up the study.
"Based on how effective they are in reducing the air pollution contributed by road dust, we shall take a decision," he said. BBMP had spent Rs 8.68 crore to buy eight big mechanical sweepers, for the smaller one it had spent Rs 47.10 lakh. The monthly maintenance cost for one big sweeper is Rs 5.95 lakh and for smaller sweeper it is Rs 3.30 lakh, a BBMP official said.