Garbage being burnt near Kharadi lake with the smoke adding to the increasing levels of air pollution.(Shankar Narayan/HT PHOTO)
Garbage being burnt near Kharadi lake with the smoke adding to the increasing levels of air pollution.(Shankar Narayan/HT PHOTO)

Puneites breathe air that is 4x more dangerous than normal

Experts claim Pune needs at least 30 continuous air monitoring stations; it currently has only five: one continuous and four manual.
By Prachi Bari and Nadeem Inamdar | Hindustan Times, Pune
UPDATED ON MAY 16, 2018 05:13 PM IST

Pune has four times more polluted air than the standards set by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The startling revelation came to surface during a discussion at the day-long workshop on Air Pollution: Is The NCAP An Adequate Response To The Crisis. The workshop was organised by the legal initiative for forest and environment (LIFE) and parisar (a civil society organisation working on lobbying and advocacy for sustainable development), on Monday, at PYC Hindu Gymkhana.

Experts believe that the amount of particulate matter (PM) in the city air is regarded as the most dangerous urban pollutant as it can penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the blood stream. This can inturn lead to lung and heart-related ailments.

The city, in 2017, had PM2.5 concentration at 40 μg/m3, which is four times higher than WHO standards set at 10 μg/m3, while PM10 during the same period was 85 μg/m3.

Ritwick Dutta, a noted environment lawyer and managing trustee of the organisation legal initiative for forest and environment who has been creating awareness about the national clean air programme (NCAP), sounded the alarm with air pollution-related statistics.

He said, “ Pune is already showing four times WHO standards of air pollution. What this city requires is at least 30 continuous air monitoring stations, while it currently has only five; four manual and one continuous station, under the PMC.”

Pune had an estimated modelled urban average ambient PM2.5 concentration of 56.3 ± 12.9 μg/m3 in 2017, according to Dutta. “We need to aggressively promote public and non-motorised transport as a part of the city’s urban development plan, along with the improvement of road infrastructure to reduce on-road dust re-suspension,” he added.

He also pointed out that planning at a regional level is important and that the city level action plan is not the right way to handle the issue of air pollution as most of the industrial development takes place outside city limits, and any mitigation plans would exclude these areas.

The workshop was attended by prominent environmentalists, activists and environment lovers who had been passionately combating the rising tide of urbanism which is gradually eating into the green lungs of the city. 

Explaining the rationale behind organising the workshop, Dutta said, “The main idea is to make people aware of what inputs they should give for the national clean air programme, launched by the government to sought public comments till May 17, 2018,” adding, “We felt it necessary to hold such workshops as the national clean air programme, is only available on the ministry of environment website in English and can be accessed only on that particular website, with no other agency having any link. Besides, the government on its own has not organised a single consultation, except a single meeting with stakeholders, including the World Bank, the Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) and the government department.”

The workshop on a similar topic was also held in Bhubaneshwar, Chennai, Delhi and Pune. 

Mangesh Dighe, PMC environment officer, who gave a brief overview of the rising pollution in the city, said that the vehicle population in Pune had gone up significantly and was one of the important factors which contributed to pollutants suspended in the air for a long time leading to pollution.

“Regional Transport Office (RTO) data from Pune says that, in a year, 2.06 lakh vehicles are registered and annually, it is increasing each year. This is a wake-up call for the residents and all the stakeholders,” Dighe said.

Pollution level highest during summers, winters: PMC environment department

Pollution in the city is at its peak during the summer and winter seasons, while during monsoons they are significantly low, said Mangesh Dighe, environment officer of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).

Dighe was speaking at a day-long workshop, on Monday, jointly organised by NGOs legal initiative for forest and environment (LIFE) and Parisar to highlight, as well as seek comments, on the National Clean Air Action Plan (NCAP) recently announced by the ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEFCC). The plan is out for public comments until May 17, 2018. The workshop was attended by environmentalists, activists and experts.

During the workshop, Dighe shared the current status of air pollution in Pune as per the environment status report 2017, which stated the number of registered vehicles in the city to be around 33 lakhs; exceeding the population of 31 lakhs. The report also highlighted that two-wheelers constitute 70 to 75 per cent of the total vehicles.

He was of the opinion that public transport should be strengthened in order to control the number of vehicles on the road which will help reduce vehicular pollution.

Sujit Patwardhan, founder member of Parisar, stressed on the need for questioning the path of development India is following. “We are heading towards a car-oriented society, and hence, there is a constant demand for flyovers and wider roads. The maximum requests for cutting trees in Pune comes from the road department, and yet there is little support to improving the public transportation in the city.”

Patwardhan stressed on the need for doing away with a car-oriented approach and suggested implementing alternative modes of transport to curb the rising level of pollution and urban chaos in Pune.

Dust, diesel are worst pollutants

Dust, diesel are among the top air pollutants, said Sunil Dahiya, senior campaigner, green peace NGO. Dahiya, who spoke about the collective efforts of the NGO towards reducing air pollution in Pune, at Beijing, China, said, “Dust, diesel, increasing registration of vehicular population and solid waste are some of the pollutants adding to severe air pollution.”

Dahiya, who was speaking at the workshop on the national clean air programme, began with a presentation on air pollution beyond Delhi – NCR and cited examples of Beijing that was working on reducing air pollution.

Ritwick Dutta, managing trustee for the organisation, legal initiative for forest and environment, said that India ranks 177 out of 180 in the list of polluted countries, while 14 out of the 20 most polluted cities from across the world are from India, revealed the WHO global air pollution database. This is alarming and all of this is on a rise due to the weak rules of the Air Prevention and Control of Pollution Act (1981) of India, said Dutta.

The Act was created to take appropriate steps for the preservation of the natural resources, which among the other things includes, the preservation of high quality air and ensures controlling the level of air pollution, although there is no provision of rigorous penalty system in place. The objectives of the Act were to evolve effective and proficient ambient air quality, have proper monitoring network across the country and have reliable database.

They were also to include public outreach for implementation of policies on air pollution and to have a feasible management plan for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution.

“While there is an Act, we find that there is lack of synchronisation between projects, approval or rejection without consideration of any key environmental issues; even cumulative impact assessment studies are missing and the projects approved by the state environment impact assessment authority do not list merits/ demerits of the projects with relation to environment.

“If one looks at the state environment clearance board(ECB), they have granted 121 clearances and 82 per cent are in the building and construction sector above 20,000 square metres, where Pune is the highest followed by Mumbai,” said Dutta.

The health session was conducted by Manas Ray, former head, department of experimental haematology, Chittarajan National Cancer Institute, who stressed upon the carcinogenic elements that were found in air pollution. “We conducted research even on incense sticks. One incense stick is equal to 10 cigarettes a day. Even non smokers complain of anaemia and allergies as a result of being exposed to air pollution,” said Ray.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
HT Image
HT Image

India’s first paralympic gold medalist wants more tournaments for para-athletes

By Jigar Hindocha, Pune
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:55 PM IST
India’s first Paralympic gold medalist swimmer Murlikant Petkar was sitting in the first row when union minister of youth affairs and sports Kiren Rijiju launched the Khelo India State Centre of Excellence (KISCE) at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Balewadi on Monday
Close
HT Image
HT Image

3,000 abandoned vehicles clutter city roads: Pune Traffic Branch

By Nadeem Inamdar, Pune
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:55 PM IST
Pedestrians, commuters, and the city traffic police are facing adversities with at least 3,000 abandoned vehicles cluttering different nooks, crannies, and roads of the city
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Cooler temperatures expected in Pune this week

By Namrata Devikar, Pune
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:54 PM IST
In just two days, the temperature in the city has witnessed a drop with the night temperature reported at 13
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Three booked for submitting fake IAF NOC

By Nadeem Inamdar, Pune
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:54 PM IST
The Kondhwa police have booked three persons attached to a Gujarat-based trust in connection with a fake No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the ministry of defence, government of India which was submitted to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) for construction within the limits of the Indian Air Force (IAF) base
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Teacher recruitment corruption case: Man arrested; anticipatory bail of 27 others rejected

By Shalaka Shinde, Pune
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:54 PM IST
One person was arrested by Pune police while the anticipatory bail of 27 others was rejected by a court in Pune on Friday in a case of teacher recruitment-related corruption case
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Chain link installed at Katraj zoo, boundary wall repairs pending since 2019

By Manasi Deshpande, Pune
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:54 PM IST
The Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park in Katraj is taking steps to protect vulnerable animals after four blackbucks were attacked and killed by stray dogs earlier this month
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Colleges shut during lockdown leave many girls in Pune rural areas with no option but to get married

By Dheeraj Bengrut
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 08:21 PM IST
Pune: For 23-year-old Jyotsana (name changed), it was a tough call when her parents and family members put pressure on her to get married after she returned to her village following the nationwide lockdown announced in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic
Close
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray speaks as he attends a meeting through video conferencing in Mumbai. (ANI Photo)
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray speaks as he attends a meeting through video conferencing in Mumbai. (ANI Photo)

SII fire accident or sabotage to be known after probe, says Uddhav Thackeray

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 06:15 PM IST
Five men died in the fire that broke out in a five- storeyed under-construction building in the SII's Manjari premises in Pune on Thursday.
Close
HT Image
HT Image

PMC water department seeks 200 cr more through municipal bonds for 24x7 water plan

By Abhay Khairnar
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 05:45 PM IST
PUNE: After raising Rs200 crore through municipal bonds for the execution of 24x7 water scheme, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) water department has requested the accounts department to generate another Rs200 crore through municipal bonds for the project
Close
A smoke rises from fire at Serum Institute of India in Pune, India January 21, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer(REUTERS)
A smoke rises from fire at Serum Institute of India in Pune, India January 21, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer(REUTERS)

Damage in fire worth 1K crore, Covid vaccine supply not to be impacted: SII CEO

Written by Prashasti Singh, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 06:22 PM IST
In a statement issued earlier, SII officials had said the fire would impact the production of BCG and Rotavirus vaccines in future.
Close
Mhada houses are in great demand as they cost less compared to private builders and have clear land titles. Image used for representational purposes only.(Pramod Thakur/HT Photo)
Mhada houses are in great demand as they cost less compared to private builders and have clear land titles. Image used for representational purposes only.(Pramod Thakur/HT Photo)

Mhada to draw lottery for over 5600 houses in Pune division

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Deepali Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 12:45 PM IST
The winners of the lottery will also be notified through text message and the list of the accepted applications will also be made available online on the website.
Close
Smoke billowing out of the SII facility which caught fire, in Pune on Thursday. (ANI)
Smoke billowing out of the SII facility which caught fire, in Pune on Thursday. (ANI)

Serum Institute fire: CM Uddhav Thackeray to visit facility today

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Smriti Sinha
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 08:55 AM IST
All the five victims were labourers and SII has announced ex-gratia of 25 lakh to the family of each of the deceased
Close
The Maharashtra government ordered a probe into the incident. State health minister Rajesh Tope said initial findings suggested that the fire was caused due to welding work and spread fast due to the presence of inflammatory material on the premises.(REUTERS)
The Maharashtra government ordered a probe into the incident. State health minister Rajesh Tope said initial findings suggested that the fire was caused due to welding work and spread fast due to the presence of inflammatory material on the premises.(REUTERS)

5 dead as fire breaks out at Serum facility

By Shalaka Shinde, Pune
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 06:46 AM IST
Officials said at least four people were rescued from SII’s Manjari premises in an operation spanning over an hour to bring the fire under control and save those trapped.
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Autorickshaw drivers to go by the meter in PCMC

By Jigar Hindocha
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 10:31 PM IST
Pune: Residents taking an autorickshaw ride in Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) areas from Thursday can now be rest assured that the fare will be as per meter rates
Close
HT Image
HT Image

College students in Pune demand restart of offline classes

By Dheeraj Bengrut
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 10:05 PM IST
Pune: Students pursing college and university studies have sought resumption of campus studies after the state government allowed offline classes for Class 9 to Class 12 students from November last year
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP