While Pune bagged the first spot as the most liveable city recently, a report released by the Central Pollution Control Board also gave us the top spot as the city with highest vehicular pollution in the country.
The data released recently by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) highlights that Pune is the city with maximum air pollution ( vehicular ). Recently, the Pune Municipal Corporation as well had released its annual Environment Status report stipulating that the air quality index in the city has only been deteriorating.
The exponential rise in the air traffic along with a significant increase in the overall number of vehicles has only further worsened the situation. The inefficient public transport system adds to the private vehicle density further.
While the civic body is quick to blame growing urbanisation for the increase in air pollution, experts and informed citizens clearly set the blame on management inefficiency and lack of appropriate urban planning.
PMC environment officer Mangesh Dighe, “Rapid urbanisation has led to a difference in city temperatures compared to rural locations. Commensurately, road and building construction activities have also increased in these areas, while green cover has diminished. Naturally, increasing green cover is one the major solutions to minimising this effect.”
However, According to Dr Gurfan Beig, who is a prominent scientist in the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), city’s rising vehicular pollution along with the increasing air traffic operations from the Pune airport is one of the major reasons of the air pollution in the city.
He said, “It is beyond any doubt that over the year the city has been registering a consistent rise in the harmful toxic substances in the air.
Owing to the bad mass public transport systems, the vehicular population in the city is at an all-time high. Also, the air traffic has increased which has led to major depletion in the air quality in the city.”
Pratik Jainabadkar, a chartered accountant by profession said, “The total number of vehicles here has surpassed the human population which is a first for any urban area in the country.
While the population stands at approximately 3.5 million (35 lakh), the number of registered vehicles for the area is now 3.62 million (36.2 lakh) under the Regional Traffic Office MH-12. This is an alarming situation. One of the major reasons for this is the inefficient mass public transport.”
He added, “It is sad the total fleet strength of the PMPML which is a public transport provider for the city is around 2000 buses.
Considering the population of the city, 2000 buses is miniscule. Consequently, citizens eventually resort to using private vehicles, thus increasing traffic and air pollution.”
An official at the city’s major dealer of two-wheelers in Pune said, “It is beyond doubt that the sale of two wheelers has been consistently increasing in the city.
We have a sale of over 900 two wheelers per month.”
Rohit Rathod, MBA student said, “On one hand, the vehicular population is increasing and on the other, authorities are not doing anything to protect our green belt.
The reservation and classification of one of the only green belts at Yerwada, the Dr Salim Ali bird Sanctuary has also been apparently removed by the state government through the modification plan. If this continues, we are not far from the time when Pune will turn into another smog filled Delhi.”
Effective, well managed public transport infrastructure is the only solution to these problems,” Rathod adds.
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