BENGALURU: Even before the onset of Deepavali and the expected increase in air and noise pollution levels, the diminishing quality of air in Bengaluru over the last five years is a clear cause for concern.
The Air Quality Index nosedived by 24 per cent in the period from 2011 to 2015, reveal data released by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board last week.
Of the eight areas taken for assessment during the period, the air content assessed in ITPL area, Mysuru Road, Peenya Industrial Area and Victoria Hospital have revealed a high presence of the pollutant PM10 (particulate matter) in 2015. This is way above what was recorded in these areas in 2011.
PM refers to fine dust which is less than 10 microns and is responsible for breathing problems in adults. “PM coats the lungs and causes respiratory infections, persistent cough and throat irritation as well as aggravates asthma,” said a top official.
The increase in PM has ensured that the City is pushed into a ‘moderate zone’ in terms of air quality from the ‘satisfactory zone’ that existed during 2011.
Speaking to Express, S Nanda Kumar, Chief Environmental Officer, KSPCB, said, “Almost 50 per cent increase in the number of vehicles in the City during this period as well as the construction works that took place in many areas because of Namma Metro and other infrastructure projects are responsible for the AQI taking such a hit.” From 42 lakh vehicles in 2011, the number has zoomed to over 64 lakh.
However, the positive aspect is that due to the popularity of Metro trains after the underground corridor was inaugurated on April 30, the pollution levels in Mysuru Road and Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna Railway Station area have dipped, as per statistics released last month.
One heartening aspect revealed during the five-year assessment is that the levels of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide in all the areas assessed have gone down considerably. These two gaseous emissions go down when there is usage of LPG instead of diesel in vehicles and when there are stringent vehicle emission standards.
The only area which shows reduced pollutants compared to the rest is Saneguruvanahalli near Basaveshvara Nagar. “This is a residential area and that accounts for the reduced presence of pollutants when compared to the other areas taken for assessment. The same cannot be applied to other residential areas in the City though,” said Kumar.