Tuesday July 16, 2019

Bengaluru kids more exposed to toxic air: Report

Observed air quality levels exceeded safety limits by more than five times, the particulate matter count was above 400 micrograms (IG) per cubic metre, says the report

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Observed air quality levels exceeded safety limits by more than five times, the particulate matter count was above 400 micrograms (IG) per cubic metre, says the report.
Observed air quality levels exceeded safety limits by more than five times, the particulate matter count was above 400 micrograms (IG) per cubic metre, says the report. Wikimedia Commons
  • The school-goers are among the worst affected by the toxic air
  • With an existing fleet of seven million vehicles, nearly 900 new vehicles are added to the Bengaluru’s roads every day
  • Observed air quality levels exceeded safety limits by more than five times

If you are travelling in an open vehicle during peak traffic hours daily in Bengaluru, you are likely to be exposed to severe toxic air. And school-goers are among the worst affected, a report warned on Wednesday.

Between 8.30am and 10.30am, the particulate pollution levels between Banashankari to Marathahalli varied from 70-800 micrograms per cubic meter, an alarming high, says the report, “Bengaluru’s Rising Air Quality Crisis: The Need for Sustained Reportage and Action”, by independent environmental researcher Aishwarya Sudhir.

But why is Bengaluru gridlocked?

With an existing fleet of seven million vehicles, nearly 900 new vehicles are added to the Bengaluru’s roads every day.

Worsening the problem, says the report, is illegal dumping of waste mixed with mass untreated sewage.

Also Read: Neurologists say rising air pollution can cause stroke among adults

The city generates around 4,500 to 5,000 tonnes of waste per day, by conservative estimates. The state capital often referred as India’s Silicon Valley because of its information technology hub, has had its challenges with outdated waste collection, segregation and transportation system, which often results in toxic emissions.

Climate Trends works on solutions to air pollution, while Co Media Lab is a community media lab.
Climate Trends works on solutions to air pollution, while Co Media Lab is a community media lab. Wikimedia Commons

The city has 10 online monitoring stations, of which five were introduced in January with an additional feature to generate Air Quality Index.

The five new stations are in Hebbal, Jayanagar, Kavika, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences and Silk Board.

Taking up the cudgels to check the alarming pollution levels, the report says residents of Whitefield Rising in Mahadevapura in November last year tested the air quality in the morning in their locality.

Observed air quality levels exceeded safety limits by more than five times, the particulate matter count was above 400 micrograms (IG) per cubic metre, says the report.

Also Read: How exposure to air pollution in womb may shorten lifespan

Clean up

Sudhir, who is based in Bengaluru, told IANS that the residents initiated a daily activity to clean up roads by hiring a vacuum cleaner and demonstrated that this is indeed possible.

They have been spending money on and off to get the roads cleaned. They have approached the local municipality and the pollution control board to regularise it. So far that hasn’t happened.

Likewise, residents of Malleshwaram have started taking the initiative to tackle the problem of burning leaves, another major cause of air pollution, in their locality by composting in their gardens or empty plots.

The city generates around 4,500 to 5,000 tonnes of waste per day, by conservative estimates.
The city generates around 4,500 to 5,000 tonnes of waste per day, by conservative estimates. Wikimedia Commons

Quoting Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research cardiologist Rahul Patil, the report says: “After eliminating stress and dietary habits, we found cab and auto drivers were the worst hit as they remain stranded for long hours in bad traffic and are exposed to high levels of pollution.”

Co Media Lab Director Pinky Chandran told IANS that unlike New Delhi and other cities, Bengaluru, fortunately, has many citizen-action groups that are championing the cause of clean air.

Also Read: Air Pollution And Its Effects On Our Heath

“The state needs to take its citizens into confidence and formulate an implementable action plan which is based on air quality data so that it can bring about change,” she said.

A seven-day air quality monitoring exercise took up by Co Media Lab and Climate Trends this month found that the particulate matter averages observed over four hours during peak time in the morning and evening were consistently above 200 micrograms per cubic metre, indicating very poor air quality levels.

Climate Trends works on solutions to air pollution, while Co Media Lab is a community media lab. Both are based in Bengaluru. (IANS)

Next Story

Sri Lanka’s 90% Coral Reefs Dead Due to Pollution

By saving the remaining live corals, they would stay alive for decades which would help Sri Lanka attract more tourists

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Sri Lanka's, Coral Reefs, Pollution
Sri Lanka, rich in coral reefs, had lost 90 per cent of its corals in recent years mainly due to illegal fishing methods such as bottom trawling and dynamite blasting. Pixabay

Sri Lanka’s state-owned Marine Environment Protection Authority on Wednesday warned that the country only had 10 per cent of live coral reefs in its oceans as 90 per cent had died due to pollution, illegal fishing methods and excessive climate change.

Dr Terney Pradeep Kumara, General Manager of the marine authority, told Xinhua news agency that urgent steps must be taken by the government to mark the remaining live coral reefs as “highly protected areas” and measures must be taken to move these live corals to deeper seas.

He said Sri Lanka, rich in coral reefs, had lost 90 per cent of its corals in recent years mainly due to illegal fishing methods such as bottom trawling and dynamite blasting, excessive climate change and high levels of pollution dumped into the seas.

“We urgently now need to save the remaining 10 per cent. At present, what we are observing is that the remaining 10 per cent is also facing a lot of difficulty due to high temperature levels.

Sri Lanka's, Coral Reefs, Pollution
Sri Lanka’s state-owned Marine Environment Protection Authority on Wednesday warned that the country only had 10 per cent of live coral reefs. Pixabay

“Therefore we expect all government agencies, private agencies and all the environmentalists to get together and help the government declare these reefs as highly protected areas and help transfer the living corals to deep areas to keep them alive,” he added.

Also Read- India: Gujarat to Upgrade Renewable Energy Sector To an Ambitious 30,000 Megawatt (MW)

Kumara said that by saving the remaining live corals, they would stay alive for decades which would help Sri Lanka attract more tourists which would strengthen the economy and the bio diversity of the country. (IANS)