Karnataka: Toxic, every breath you take...
Bengaluru: According to the data collected by Greenpeace India, around 1.2 million people die in the country every year due to air pollution. Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) chairman, Lakshman said, “Nearly 36.3% of the diesel vehicles and 12.6% of the petrol vehicles in the city exceed the national limit for vehicular emissions,” he added.
Going by the statistics provided by (KSPCB), the value of Air Quality Index (AQI) for the city stands at 96, which can result in minor discomfort in breathing to sensitive people. Though it comes under the moderate category, a highly placed official in the department expressed concern that every month the AQI value was on the rise. “Vehicular emissions contribute to over 42%-45% of the pollution. We are conducting regular checks of polluting vehicles with state transport department and traffic policemen concerned,” Lakshman told Deccan Chronicle. Due to regular traffic congestion Air Quality Index on Mysore Road, Silk Board, ITPL, Peenya and Domlur was quite high. In a report by Airpocalypse, it was highlighted that the PM10 levels in the cities of Karnataka were higher than the average of 60µg/m3 prescribed under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
Environmentalist A.N. Yellapa Reddy believes that the AQI could be higher than what is measured by the instruments because they are prone to human error.
“Not only the vehicles, even the eateries on the roads are contributing to air pollution. KSPCB has instruments only to measure suspended particulate matter, but due to the idle running of vehicles, secondary pollutant like ozone is formed which will not only have an adverse impact on photosynthesis but affect human respiratory system,” Reddy said.
On being asked if there would be any action against roadside eateries, Lakshman said that KSPCB is already in talks with the BBMP in this regard.
Reddy called for coordination among various government departments. “Transport, traffic police, tourism and other departments are working in isolation. Unless they all come on the board to and find a solution we will continue to breathe toxic air,” he observed.