Fuelled by massive rise in number of vehicles, the air quality in six metros in the country has worsened in the last five years.
The mushrooming of industries has been labelled as the second highest contributor to the deteriorating air pollution, according to the Environmental Survey 2013 released here on Monday.
The survey was conducted by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) across six cities -- Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai. As part of the survey, Dr R K Pachauri-led team interviewed over 4,000 people across these cities to gauge their perception of the environmental issues. While majority of the respondents saw the decline in key issues such as air, water and green cover, they said it was the government’s responsibility to take remedial measures.
On a slightly positive note, many felt that drinking water quality and availability have improved in all cities, except for Hyderabad, where the respondents felt it has worsened. “The transport sector was ranked the highest, followed by factories in and around the city as the second highest contributor towards air pollution in Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. But respondents in Bangalore rated factories as the highest contributor, followed by transport. Those in Hyderabad rated construction activities in the city as the worst offender, followed by the transport sector,” the report said. A massive 90 per cent of the respondents in Bangalore said they used public transport system three times a week. In other cities, the number came to 50 per cent.
Interestingly, people themselves suggested that there was a need to tax private vehicles in Bangalore and Chennai to reduce air pollution. Respondents in Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai felt there was a need to convert all polluting industries into environment-friendly ones.
Ironically, 39 per cent of the respondents in Delhi and over 20 per cent in Bangalore and Mumbai said there was improvement in air quality.
When asked about the people’s perception and awareness on government policies related to different environmental domains, Delhi fared the worst.
Over 70 to 80 per cent of the respondents said they were unaware of the policies on air and water pollution, water availability, waste management, forest conservation and climate change.
Coming to the contentious issue of environment vs development debate, 30 per cent of respondents in Chennai favoured environment protection, while an equal number of respondents said protection and development should go hand in hand. About 59 per cent respondents in Delhi and 34 per cent in Mumbai also agreed to the latter.
Nearly 65 per cent respondents in Kolkata felt that environment protection should be given priority. However, 85 per cent of the respondents in Hyderabad felt environment protection and development should be treated differently.