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Plans underway to prevent rise in air pollution in Pune: Bapat

According to the minister, the issue of air pollution was discussed in detail in the assembly.

pune Updated: Jul 12, 2018 14:34 IST
Jui Dharwadkar
Jui Dharwadkar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Bapat,air pollution
Girish Bapat said that the air quality index (AQI) of Pune shows that city’s air quality is deteriorating. (HT PHOTO )

Girish Bapat, Pune district guardian minister, said that an action plan by experts would soon be implemented in the city to address the issue of rising air pollution. The minister said that as an immediate measure, sulphur content in diesel would be reduced and electric and CNG vehicles would be encouraged.

Speaking to media in Nagpur on the sidelines of the assembly session on Tuesday, Bapat said, “The air quality index (AQI) of Pune shows that city’s air quality is deteriorating. Authorities have been directed to immediately reduce sulphur content in diesel.”

Sulphur content in diesel is one of the largest contributors to environmental pollution.

“With this Pune will now be supplied with petrol and diesel of Bharat Stage IV standard,” said Bapat, adding that apart from this, electric vehicles and vehicles driven on CNG would be encouraged while urban street design and roads are being considered to ensure less air pollution in the city.

According to the minister, the issue of air pollution was discussed in detail in the assembly. “With rising job opportunities the influx of people in Pune is rising. With rising population, the number of vehicles has also gone up. With this, in the past eight years, there has been substantial rise in particulate matter in the city. Pune is amongst the most polluted cities of the country.”

Bapat said that an action plan was prepared collectively by the traffic department, road department, construction department and pollution control board.

“As per the action plan, vehicles which are more than 12 years old were banned in the city. Subsidy of close to ₹12,000 was given to autorickshaws for switching to CNG. The urban street design was implemented which has cycle track, storm water drains among other things,” he said.

The minister said that a special road maintenance van was procured to check for potholes in the roads. He said that in the last five years the usage of CNG in Pune has increased from 20,000 metric tonnes to 80,000 metric tonnes.

“To address the issue of garbage, 18 projects of bio methanization have been started in Pune and efforts are being made to substitute diesel generators with solar generators,” Bapat said.

Mangesh Dighe, environment officer, PMC said, “The rise in air pollutants is mainly because of the rise in the number of vehicles in the city. Pollutants like nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and sulphur are a result of the smoke emitted from the vehicle’s exhaust. With rising number of vehicles on the roads, these pollutants are also rising.”

The civic official said that with the rise in number of vehicles, the dust also does not settle, thus increasing levels of particulate matter in the air. During winters the AQI in Pune has been as bad as 130 which otherwise is seen in the range of 50 to 70. A normal or ideal AQI reading is 51-100.

First Published: Jul 11, 2018 15:01 IST