High-density vehicular traffic and a rise in fuel consumption during peak hours have increased carbon emissions from 33% to 75% in the city, revealed a study by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) released on Thursday.
Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and increased exposure to it can affect the central nervous system and respiratory function.
The study, conducted over a period of 18 months between 2011 and 2012, examined how traffic congestion results in delays, fuel wastage and increase in air pollution. The high vehicular density brought the average speed of vehicles to 10km/hr during peak hours, said the study. An example of this finding is the drastic difference in journey time and carbon emissions during normal hours and peak hours.
An 11-km journey between Worli and Chembur takes 15 minutes more during peak traffic and guzzles 3 litres of petrol compared to 1.5 litres consumed during normal traffic. Carbon emissions at this location increased from 390 grams per litre of fuel to 780 grams per litre.
“If the city’s key areas are in such bad shape during peak traffic, the rest of the city’s traffic will also slow down,” said Rakesh Kumar, chief scientist and head, NEERI.
The study also showed that given the current pattern of growth in two and four wheelers, there will be a 65% rise in carbon emissions in the city by 2050. While in 2010, the carbon emissions in the city were 16,10,744 metric tonnes per year, the study has projected the emissions to increase to 26,57,727 metric tonnes per year.
“Increase in two-wheeler traffic and rising preference for private transport is resulting in denser traffic conditions, slower movement of vehicles, increasing time to reach from one place to another and, most dangerously, higher emissions,” said Kumar.
The study also found a high presence of pollutants such as particulate matter (PM10) and nitrogen oxide in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai.
In Thane, while the PM10 emission in 2010 was 1172.6 metric tonnes/year, the figure is expected to increase to 2,737.9 metric tonnes/year by 2050. The increase in pollutants is taking a huge toll on the health of people, said the study.