Transport department officials claim that they are short staffed but conduct enforcement drives whenever possible.

Bengaluru could well be the next Delhi if authorities dont act against pollution
news Pollution Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - 11:05

The pace at which air pollution in Bengaluru is increasing, the city could soon be the Delhi of the south.

With 5% annual average increase in Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) levels over the last five years, it is time the authorities took serious measures, reported The Times of India.

Experts say that the state’s pollution control board has only been issuing notices since the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests issued guidelines to tackle air pollution.

ToI quoted the KSPCB chairman Lakshman as saying, “Old vehicles like buses and auto rickshaws that ply on city roads emit black smoke. While not many users bother to get their vehicle emissions checked, the agencies concerned need to act against them.”

Peenya Industrial area is one of the worst affected areas in the city. According to a study done by Greenpeace India in September 2015, the pollution level recorded in the area was 1300 ug/m3. The air quality was 26 times the World Health Organisation prescribed safe limit and 13 times India’s own pollution recommendation.

Suresh R, another expert said apart from asking for strict action against visibly polluting vehicles and steps to prevent parking in non-designated areas, the guidelines also suggest vacuum sweeping of roads to avoid dust from lifting.

“To arrest road dust, the guidelines call for deployment of wet mechanized vacuum sweeping of roads. However, we see very few mechanized sweepers functioning in the city. And there is a need to maintain pothole-free roads for free flow of traffic, to reduce emission and dust. Sadly this is not happening properly and rising pollution levels are gradually taking a toll on the lungs, especially of children and senior citizens,” he added.

Transport department officials, who are responsible to ensure running of emission free vehicles on the road, claim that they are short staffed but conduct enforcement drives whenever possible.

“We've introduced several measures, like random but continuous enforcement checks, where we penalize those without pollution under control certificates, as well as a checking mechanism which allows users to find out if the certificates issued are authentic. We are targeting different areas and stopping vehicles for checks. It isn't easy as we are short-staffed too. But knowing vehicular emission is a big contributor, we are encouraging more such drives. We also regularly audit the centres issuing pollution under control certificates,” said a transport department official.

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