Time to clear the air: Bengaluru’s action plan to beat pollution

It is time to look into more on air pollution, as the United Nations has declared Air Pollution as the theme for the World Environment Day.

India being named third-most polluted country has prompted the state pollution control board into action, with a 48-point action plan to control air pollution. Short, medium and long-term tasks have been assigned to various agencies and solutions like mechanical sweeping, higher fines for those flouting emission norms and more extensive bus services are part of the plan. However, the plan does lack measures for long-term sustainability, for instance, promoting non-motorised transport requires different public infrastructure. The onus is on different agencies working together to make a change, reports Aksheev Thakur

In the run up to the general election, the BJP and the Congress have promised to deal with the air pollution on priority. And it’s about time. According to data released by IQAirVisual and Greenpeace, fifteen Indian cities are worst polluted and in terms world’s most polluted countries, 2018, PM 2.5, India stands third.

In order to avert any major eventuality, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has prepared a 48-point action plan to control the air pollution in the city. With the deadline being December the plan is divided as Short, Medium and Long and the tasks have been assigned to different government agencies as transport, police (traffic), food and supplies, BMRCL, BDA and BBMP for the timely completion.

One of the chief tasks assigned to the BBMP is to create a green buffer along the traffic corridor and take up greening of open areas and schools, and develop gardens by June.

While vehicular emission makes up more than 40% of the pollution, construction dust stands at 14%. Several measures like the use of mechanical sweeping, increase the fine to the vehicle owners (not drivers) where the visible smoke is noticed are said to be in continuum.

The areas where metro construction is in progress, the BMRCL has to sweep the street using mechanical suction vacuum cleaner and sprinkle water to suppress the dust emission.

The BMTC has been tasked to increase the bus service to all the satellite bus stands and last destination of the BBMP area so that traffic on the street is reduced.

“It is time to look into more on air pollution, as the United Nations has declared Air Pollution as the theme for the World Environment Day. We have enough equipments to see the data, however, we need to work on the ground and control pollution,” said Dr Lakshmikanth HM, member of the awareness committee, KSPCB.

The adulteration of fuel at the petrol pumps usually goes uncheck. The action plan entrusted the Food and Civil Supplies Department to check the petrol bunks, and put an end to sale of the unscientifically reprocessed oil used by street vendors by mid June.

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