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Pune citizens voice opinions on civic issues

Curbing air pollution in city was the most discussed topic.

pune Updated: Nov 25, 2017 15:24 IST
Jui Dharwadkar
Jui Dharwadkar
Hindustan Times, Pune
pune citizens,voice opinions,civic
Experts, citizens and PMC officials at the Indian Medical Association (IMA) discuss measures to prevent Pune from facing serious issues due to air pollution.(Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

Reducing number of vehicles on streets, increasing the green cover, protecting hills and creating more open spaces could help prevent deterioration of the air quality in Pune, said Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) officials, environment experts and doctors.

On Friday, experts, citizens and PMC officials had assembled at the Indian Medical Association (IMA) to discuss measures which could prevent Pune from experiencing Delhi-like situation in the future.

Recently, pollution levels in Delhi had spiked to serious levels with the air quality index, a measure of the level of pollutants in the air, shooting past 400 at many places in Delhi.

The discussion was initiated by 'Alert' which was started by MP Vandana Chavan in 2007 to sensitise and create awareness on implementing good governance and participatory governance at grass root level.

Present for the discussionwere Mangesh Dighe, PMC's environment officer, Dr Maj Monica Barne (Retd), head of training programmes, division, Chest Research Foundation, Pune, Amarnath Karan, programme officer, Centre for Environment Education, Sujit Patwardhan, founder of the NGO Parisar, Anita Benninger, town planner and Sulakshana Mahajan, consultant, urban planner, among others.

Speaking on the occasion, Chavan said, "Delhi was in news recently for being the most polluted city in the world. Even today, the air quality in Delhi is not at all good and has become a health hazard for its citizens."

Chavan added that Delhi has been facing this problem of hazardous air quality consecutively for three to four years during the winter season, but once it recedes, people forget about it and no measures are taken to prevent its recurrence.

"The government, administration and the citizens must come together and find out ways to ensure that Pune does not follow Delhi in being recognised as one of the most polluted cities. Even today, the particulate matter in the air in Pune is above the standard and hence, efforts must be taken to ensure that in the future the air quality does not deteriorate further," said Chavan.

On the occasion, experts stated that one of the major reasons for the deteriorating air quality in Pune has been the rise in number of vehicles. To stop this growth of vehicles, strengthening the public transport system in the city was considered to be one of the major solutions.

Experts also emphasised on protecting the hills, the green cover in the city, the river bed and creating more open spaces as part of town planning.

On the occasion Dr Monica Barne stated that air pollution is becoming a major cause for rise in obesity, lung cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, asthama and dementia among other things.

First Published: Nov 25, 2017 15:15 IST