Home >Politics >Policy >Is Bengaluru anti-air pollution drive too little, too late?

Bengaluru: The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) on Wednesday launched 12 mobile units to monitor pollution causing elements to contain the worsening air quality in Bengaluru.

Bengaluru’s air quality has been dipping in recent years as a result of rising number of vehicles, road repair work, poor quality of public infrastructure and increasing number of construction sites, among other causes.

According to preliminary findings of the pollution control board, vehicle emission and dust accounts for a total of 62% (vehicles 42% and dust 20%) of the total pollution in the city. Building and other construction work account for 14% of all pollution in the city, while industries account for another 14%.

Pollution control board officials said, as a department, the board can control only pollution caused by industries, while other categories like vehicles, dust and construction are governed by the transport department and urban development, among other departments.

“We have been carrying out some tests in high density areas like Silk Board, Whitefield, Mysore Road, Tumkur Road and New Airport Road. We have found that vehicles older than 15 years and goods vehicles are some of the biggest contributors to pollution," Lakshman, chairman of the board, said on Wednesday.

The presence of PM10—dust particles smaller than 10 microns—varies from 20% in Basaveshwaranagar area to 215% in Whitefield industrial area, according to the KSPCB data.

The department has spent Rs1 crore on 12 modified Maruti Eeco vehicles to collect data from various points in the city. Lakshman said that sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide content in the air in Bengaluru is lower than the national average.

Even Tier-II and III cities in the state are facing the problem, according to the KSPCB data. Tumkur, which is being promoted as an industrial hub, has seen a 96% increase in dust, while Hubli has seen a 33% increase in dust.

However, the government’s initiative comes “too little too late" as Bengaluru has crossed over 65 lakh vehicles and adds almost 1,500 new vehicles on the roads each day.

Other cities in India, particularly Delhi, have been grappling to curb pollution levels that have reached dangerous limits in recent times.

Earlier this month, Delhi’s pollution levels were 10 times over safe limits, PTI reported on 2 November.

Another 41 Indian cities, with population of over 1 million, have bad air quality, according to the Central Pollution Control Board data, Mint reported on 16 August.

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