Agencies failed to implement Supreme Court order: Expert

Bengaluru: Expressing confidence that India can tackle air pollution, United Nations Environment chief Erik Solheim has said that the way the country eradicated polio, it can tackle air pollution too.

The UN body has identified cooking stoves as one of the major reasons for the poor quality of air. But air quality expert and visiting scientist of Indian Institute of Science Mahesh Kashyap said, “The UN body has identified certain types of cooking stoves used by individual households as a major driver of poor quality of air. But this is not the case with Bengaluru, as such stoves are common only in rural areas. In the city, vehicles, construction activities, diesel generator sets, etc. are the major contributors to air pollution.”

He said that not only the state pollution control board, but also other government agencies, like BMTC, Bescom, BMRCL and BBMP, should pull up their socks. “Renewable energy is needed and the government is providing incentives for it. The garbage collection mechanism and mechanisms to reduce construction dust need to be improved by the BBMP and the Metro work should be speeded up.”

Recently, the city saw a brazen violation of the Supreme Court order on bursting of crackers. However, seeing the worsening condition in Delhi after Deepavali, there is an apprehension that the Garden City too is inching close to it.

A senior official at the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board said, “The implementing agencies failed miserably in implementing the apex court order. The firecrackers were burst before and after the stipulated hours and that resulted in the worsening of PM 10 and PM 2.5 pollution levels.”

Mr Kashyap said that toxic chemicals from firecrackers remain suspended for a long time causing serious health ailments. “Whoever came up with the term green crackers! The word green has been used (abused) very loosely. It’s not easy for government agencies to enforce the Supreme Court order and go to every street to check for pollution and noise. Now we have about 10 months to come up with green crackers that pollute less and make less noise. Hope scientists will come up with the solution. One should not paint the firecracker green and say it’s a green cracker. That would be a mockery,” he said.

The PM 10 and PM 2.5 levels touched 400 in some parts of the city which according to the norms set by the Central Pollution Control Board come under the severe category. However, Mr Kashyap said that the city is nowhere close to the national capital but correct measures should be taken to bring things under control.

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