Bhubaneswar, Nov 6 (LocalWire): Air pollution has threatened to take the sheen off Bhubaneswar, Odisha’s bustling capital city, which has earned the tag of country’s smartest city for its clean and neat roads, lush green cover and smart city planning.
With the city falling short of ambient air quality, the signs are ominous according to the air quality monitoring reports.
The index value of air quality monitored in the city in the first five days of November has put the city at par with moderately-polluted cities.
The air quality index (AQI) has been detected at 142, placing the city in moderately-polluted zones. The presence of PM10 (particulate matters) pollutant particles were traced in the air. The latest AQI was based on the reports gathered from six monitoring stations in the city from 1-5 November, said a senior official of the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB).
The health index framed by the World Health Organization for the 101-200 range AQI areas warns that the moderate pollution of this nature may cause breathing discomfort to people with lung disease such as asthma, and discomfort to people with heart disease, children and older adults.
As part of the National Air Monitoring Program (NAMP), the SPCB has made six monitoring stations operational across the city. The centres are monitoring air quality ambience round-the-clock and providing data on near real-time basis, added the SPCB official.
The air quality report compiled on daily basis is being submitted to the authorities concerned alongwith suggestive measures to curb it.
The vehicular pollution has emerged as the major pollutant source in the city. The number of two wheelers and four wheelers has risen manifold in the city. PM10 air pollution in Bhubaneswar is principally due to vehicular emission, the official said.
The SPCB has suggested the government scale up the public transport system to reduce residents’ dependence on personal vehicles for commuting. The toxic emission will come down once the vehicular movement is minimized, the official concluded.
A former environment scientist and Loisinga MLA, Mukesh Mahaling also spoke on the same lines. He suggested public transport be increased to curb air pollution in the city.
The capital is now moderately polluted. Things are yet to assume alarming proportions. The Centre has chalked out introducing metro service in the city which will help reduce vehicular pollution, he added.
The state transport authority has issued 55,000 learners licence in September-October in two regional transport offices of the city.
Bhubaneswar will lose its tag as the most livabele city in the state if the authorities do not initiate proactive steps to regulate vehicular pollution. One has to give it a serious thought otherwise the capital city may go the Delhi way in future, observed a local resident of Bapuji Nagar locality of the city, Tushar Kanti Mohapatra.
Reminiscing the past, he recalled ‘I have been living in Bhubaneswar since 1979. Things have transformed a lot since then with the city turning into a mega urban cluster with mushrooming skyscrapers. The city was peaceful and entirely pollution-free.
The locality where I am living is marked by busy traffic. Moving on the streets, one can see the haze and experience inhaling pungent airy substances.’