BENGALURU: Peeved with a slew of pollution-related health hazards that a large number of people in Bengaluru are experiencing, researchers at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) are conducting a study correlating mortality and morbidity data with pollution, said Professor Sheela K Ramasesha, principal scientist, Energy and Environment Research, NIAS.
As the city keeps expanding erratically, Ramasesha noticed an infuriating trend in which people are tearing down not-so-old buildings only to construct new ones in place, which is only proliferating construction dust and affecting people’s health.
“A ban is needed on bringing down houses that are less than 20 years old. Road dust from construction is one of the major forms of pollution in the city, and cement dust comprises silica, which is harmful. Vehicular pollution, wherein sand lorries, even as old as 50 years, give out huge amounts of smoke, can be smelt inside houses and affect air quality. Since the power situation is bad, every institution has generators that burn a lot of diesel, causing pollution,” she said.
She said solid-waste burning and brick kilns were other sources for air pollution in the city, which need to be tackled.
While the National Ambient Air Quality (NAAQ) standard for pollution is 60 in India, which is higher than the permissible pollution vis-a-vis global standards, “we in Bengaluru are higher than even the Indian standard as checked by the 15 ground-based sensors,” she said.
So far, pollution was being checked via particulate matter of 10 micron size particles (PM 10) that can get inside the lungs, and PM 2.5 which can go through the lungs and into the bloodstream. Now, PM1 is also being analysed, and these have the capability of settling on body tissues, which is very dangerous.
Among the solutions that should be considered, Ramasesha pointed to the need to have a good Metro system, thus reducing the number of vehicles on the roads. “There is no last-mile connectivity now. Planning for Metro stations has to be done in a better manner. With this, traffic issues will reduce, and overall health will improve,” she said. The study will take three years to be completed, with the Ministry of Earth Sciences backing it.