#ActNow – The Air We Breathe Is Toxic

air pollution
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#Pune365Agenda:6 – Staying committed to highlighting burning issues of our city and helping tackle them effectively, this edition focusses on the Air Pollution that has taken over our lives, one way or the other.

Ever imagined that your daily drive and ride to work is way more dangerous than the traffic you negotiate painfully? The city is being exposed to increasing levels of Air Pollution from several sources like vehicular emission, garbage burning, fuel-wood and bio-mass incineration among others.

Air pollution is responsible for several pulmonary ailments and health issue. Rising levels of Carbon dioxide, Hydrocarbons, Carbon Monoxide, and Particulate matter have reached alarming proportion. These pollutants enters our respiratory tract and can seriously damage our lungs.

Pune365 spoke to experts and informed citizens to understand the gravity of the hazard and the way ahead for the city:

Mita Banerjee, Journalist and Founder of Team Miracle says, waste plastic is a major source of Air pollution.

As the plastic lies on the ground in big heaps, it disintegrates and the heat of the sun, causes it to let go off gases like methane. It is a hot inflammable gas which also contributes highly to the rise of global warming.

Where there is a large quantity of garbage lying around in and around the city, for example at our huge garbage dumps in Phursungi and Uruli Devachi, large quantities of Methane is released, that self-ignites. These fires release toxic fumes that pollute the air.

Our team supports various NGO’s who are into recycling, segregating and collecting the waste plastic to control air pollution. People should use alternatives to plastic products. Additionally, educating people about the hazardous health effects due to air pollution, is a must, she adds.

“Citizens from Pune has been reporting a lot of serious health issues due to the poor air quality. The widespread crop and garbage burning in the city has been a major factor contributing to the poor air quality.” Says Rahul Walunj, Environmentalist.

The increase in air pollution levels has resulted, in a rise of respiratory diseases among people across age groups. To curb pollution in the city, building awareness in the citizens is essential.

“Most citizens are unaware of the dangers that can put all of us at risk, therefore basic awareness campaigns are necessary to educate people on air pollution.” He adds.

“According to a report, Pune is a young city with 55% youth population. Being a young city, there is no proper public mobility options for the students,” says Vinita Deshmukh, Consulting Editor Co-operative magazine, Journalist and RTI activist.

Vehicular emission has been the major cause of the rise of air pollution in the city. There are approximately 75% of two-wheelers in the city thanks to the pathetic public transport. The major air pollutants are particulate matters – 2.5 are on increase in the city, this is also very dangerous for the lungs and chest.

Public transport has been pathetic in the city, every day I see 20% of buses break down on the road. The city is known to be a education hub with students from all over India. It is  really difficult for them to travel in the city, using public transport.

PMPML & BRTS should work efficiently in the city, however, the current situation seems like a dream. Before implementing a new public transport method in the city, the government should work on improving and enhancing the present transport efficiency.

“So, the only answer to curb the City air pollution is healthy efficient Public transport.” She adds.

A recent study states that approximately 600,000 children die due to the poor air quality in India, says Chetan Deshmukh, Social worker.

The government has been implementing many new rules and guidelines for waste management, however, the easy solution to circumvent this is burning garbage. People don’t really realise that, this is risking their lives and others too.

We have been paying heavy taxes but still, no major initiative has been taken by the government in the city, to tackle the air pollution levels. The government should create strict policies and laws to cope up with the menace of air pollution.

“Cutting down the trees and planting new ones is certainly not going to help, as fully grown trees produce more oxygen than the new plants. Thus government should stop this on a priority basis” He adds.


Ankita Malekar

Ankita Malekar

A talkative tiny speck in the world of Media, with an itch for travel and paws.
Ankita Malekar