Smog Digest: 2014 | Centre for Science and Environment


Smog Digest: 2014

 

 
 
Air pollution in Indian cities
 
Delhi most polluted city in the world, says World Health Organisation: Delhi is the most polluted city in the world, according to a World Health Organization study released on Wednesday. The 2014 version of the Ambient Air Pollution (AAP) database contains results of outdoor air pollution monitoring from almost 1600 cities in 91 countries. The national capital has the highest concentration of PM2.5 - particulate matters less than 2.5 microns-- form of air pollution, which is considered most serious. This form of concentration consists of tiny particles that put people at additional risk of respiratory diseases and other health problems, the World Health Organisation said. The situation is so bad in Delhi that its air has PM2.5 concentrations of 153 micrograms and PM10 concentrations of 286 micrograms - much more than the permissible limits.

Source: The Financial Express, New Delhi, May 8 2014.

 
Rajasthan's five cities have poor air quality: Report: The World Health Organization's (WHO) air quality database of 1,600 cities in different countries shows Delhi as most polluted city, however, the situation in five big cities of Rajasthan is also not very encouraging. The WHO's air quality database of 1,600 cities in 91 countries also covered Rajasthan's five prominent cities — Jaipur, Jodhpur, Alwar, Udaipur and Kota. Among the five cities of Rajasthan, Jodhpur has the most polluted air. The WHO measured the concentration of PM2.5, which are quite fine and respirable particles. In comparison to Delhi, Jodhpur has relatively low concentration of PM2.5, which is measured in micrograms per cubic metre (g/m³). Delhi has 153 g/m³, while Jodhpur has g/m³ of PM2.5 concentration, but still it is well above the WHO's standard, which is about g/m³. However, the concentration of PM2.5 in Jaipur is g/m³, it is second most air polluted city in the state, which were included in WHO's air quality database.

Source: The Times of India, Jaipur, May 9, 2014.

 
WHO finds Nagpur air quality worsening: Nagpur is considered one of the greenest and cleanest cities in the country but the World Health Organization (WHO) points out all is not hunky-dory with the city's air quality. WHO's latest report on ambient (outdoor) air pollution in 1,600 cities it monitors worldwide shows significant and growing level of air pollution in Nagpur. WHO 2014 report released on Wednesday contains data from 1,600 cities in 91 countries. The report covers the period from 2008 to 2013, with a majority of values from 2011 & 2012. Air quality is represented by annual mean concentration of fine particulate matter (PM2.5 & PM10 - particles between 2.5 and 10 microns). WHO does not rank these cities or countries according to pollution levels but the report reflects the monitoring efforts undertaken in these countries. The report found that PM10 level in Nagpur was 118 micrograms per cubic metre in 2012-13.

Source: The Times of India, Nagpur, May 10, 2014

 
Ahmedabad air: India's 5th most polluted: Against the accepted level of 40 micrograms of particulate matter (2.5 microns), the city has 100. Delhi on top with 153, followed by Patna and Gwalior Megacity Ahmedabad that has won awards and recognitions for urban planning is among the top five polluted cities in the country. The 2014 Ambient Air Pollution data base released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday showed that the city ranks high in levels of particulate matter (PM) of less than 2.5 microns. The study measured pollution as the annual mean concentration of fine particulate matter of less than 10 microns of diameter (PM10) [ug/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre)] and of less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) in various cities. According to the study, the reason why particulate matter is among those factors measured for air pollution is because these particles are able to penetrate deeply into the respiratory tract and therefore, constitute a risk for health by increasing mortality from respiratory infections and diseases, lung cancer, and other cardiovascular diseases.

Source: Daily News and Analysis, Ahmedabad, May 10, 2014

 
Chandigarh to be first in region to monitor its air quality: With the UT administration approving the proposal to set up automatic air quality monitoring system, it will soon be possible to check air pollution levels in real time. The decision to set up the automatic system, which will also function as a weather station, was taken at a meeting of the Chandigarh pollution control committee (CPCC), held on May 21, which was chaired by adviser KK Sharma. The estimated total project cost is Rs 1.1 crore, half of which will be borne by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), a partner in the project. Besides mapping ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide levels, the air monitoring system will also provide updates on benzene, a toxic compound emitted by vehicles, exposure to which causes cancer, besides other diseases.

Source: The Times of India, Chandigarh, May 23, 2014

 
Vehicle pollution highest in Gwalior, followed by Jbp: Gwalior is at the top in the table of four major cities in terms of vehicles causing pollution, Jabalpur comes the next, MP pollution control board’s report says. In Indore, 5.8 percent vehicles, monitored random by the board were found causing pollution more than the limit. This figure is 4.3 percent for Bhopal. In Gwalior, 6.9 percent vehicles running on petrol and 23 percent of diesel run vehicles were found more than limit as far as concern with causing pollution. The pollution board officials conducted monitoring of 450 petrol run vehicle and 740 diesel run vehicles there. “The report says Gwalior has the highest number of diesel run vehicle. Unfortunately this is the place where transport department’s headquarters is located,” said environment activist Ajay Dubey. Ten percent of total 1312 petrol run vehicles, monitored in Jabalpur were found causing pollution more than permissible limit.

Source: The Free Press Journal, Bhopal, June 4, 2014.

 
With more vehicles in Kolhapur, air pollution levels rise: The increasing use of vehicles has led to consistent rise in air pollution levels, affecting the environment and health of the city. For the last six months, the suspended particulate matter (SPM) and the respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) levels have been much higher than the acceptable standards. According to National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), the concentration of SPM in air should not exceed 150 micro gram per cubic metre and that of RSPM should not exceed 80 micro gram per cubic metre. However, data from the pollution monitoring units installed at Dabholkar Corner and Mahadwar Road showed that since the last six months, the SPM level has reached 415 micro gram per cubic metre and the RSPM level has reached 132 micro gram per cubic metre. The increasing concentration of the particulate matter in the air has significant impact on environment and local biodiversity.

Source: The Times of India, Kolhapur, June 5, 2014.

 
Kochi’s air polluted with harmful matter: Every lungful of breath that you take in Kochi often contains Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) above the permissible limits. The ambient air quality assessment by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board indicated that the district stations in Kochi were polluted more than other stations in the State. During the five year-long assessment, the Board looked for presence of Sulphur dioxide, Oxides of Nitrogen and RSPM. While Sulphur dioxide and Oxides of Nitrogen were well within the permissible limits, the RSPM values overshot the permissible levels several days in many months during the five-year period between 2009 and 2013. It was through the 30 stations across the State that the Board assessed the ambient air quality. The Board monitored the ambient air quality at 30 locations in the State, which included industrial, commercial, residential and sensitive areas.

Source: The Hindu, Kochi, June 5, 2014.

 
Increasing number of vehicles behind pollution: The number of vehicles has increased considerably in the city in the past five years, which is one of the sources of pollution. In the recently released World Health Organization (WHO) report on pollution, the situation of the city is not so encouraging in terms of pollution in the air. Though the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board is encouraging people to use bicycles to cover the distance for their work, increasing number of people are using four-wheelers. According to regional transport office (RTO), every day 500 new non-commercial vehicles in Jaipur get registered including two wheelers and four wheelers. "It is estimated that in the past five years, 1.25 lakh new non-commercial vehicles hit the road," RTO (Jaipur) VP Singh said. Due to increase in number of vehicles over the years, the city roads witness frequent traffic congestions, but above all, the vehicles emitting pollutants are affecting environment badly.

Source: The Times of India, Jaipur, June 6, 2014.

 
Air we breathe is dense with pollutants: Level of air pollution in the city is higher than it was in previous pre-monsoon assessments. Ambient air quality prior to onset of rains, according to report released by the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research on World Environment Day, does not bode well for health of Lucknowites. "Pollutant concentrations in terms of respirable particulate matter (RSPM), including heavy metal (traces) nickel, in urban atmosphere of Lucknow has been found to be two to three times higher than national standards, while on the other hand, concentration of gaseous pollutants sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen (SO2 & NOx) were well below the prescribed National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) at all the locations," said the study report. Talking to TOI, Dr Shyamal Chandra Barman head of environment monitoring division of IITR said, "continuous rise of population and growing urban activities, along with lack of suitable measures for air pollution control, are primary reasons for increase in air pollution."

Source: The Times of India, Lucknow, June 6, 2014.

 
Charminar most polluted area in Hyderabad: The reinvention of Charminar as a constituent of the new logo of Telangana may have given the monument a boost in terms of cultural brand value, but it has done little to clean up the foul air which envelops it. Levels of air pollution in the area this year have peaked, averaging 127 micrograms per cubic metre, pipping residential areas across the city and even heavy traffic zones like Panjagutta. An analysis of data obtained from the Pollution Control Board (PCB) shows that air pollution in Charminar has breached the acceptable annual limits of 100 micrograms per cubic metre and is only second to industrial areas of Balanagar and Jeedimetla, with 178 micrograms and 128 micrograms per cubic metre respectively. A dubious distinction for any non-industrial area, experts say. In fact, the condition of air has worsened since 2011.

Source: The Times of India, Hyderabad, June 19, 2014.

 
Capital cities to get hi-tech air pollution monitoring systems: Jammu and Kashmir will soon have hi-tech equipments for round the clock monitoring of the levels of harmful gases like Carbon Dioxide and Nitrogen Dioxide in the air. Sources said that J&K State Pollution Control Board (JKSPCB) has moved a proposal to union government for approval and funding of the project envisaging installation of equipments capable of continuous recording of the level of air pollution in Srinagar and Jammu. An official of JKSPCB informed Greater Kashmir that the Board has recently moved a proposal seeking funding from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. “The price of each equipment is between Rs 1 to 1.5 crore,” sources said. Elaborating on the benefits of having this type of system, the official said that regular monitoring of level of air polluting particles and gases would help to take corrective measures and identify the reasons that contribute to higher levels of air pollution.

Source: Greater Kashmir, Srinagar, June 24, 2014.

 
Air quality hit as CO levels shoot up: The air quality in the city has worsened in the past few days owing to a dramatic rise in carbon monoxide (CO) levels in some areas. Increased CO levels can lead to shortness of breath, weakness and impact oxygen delivery to organs. Many parts of Delhi, including Dheerpur and Mathura Road, have almost double the limit of 1,700ppb. This is mainly because the winds blowing in Delhi are emerging from Bay of Bengal and sweeping through the Indo-Gangetic plains, where CO levels are already very high. "Winds blowing from the Indo-Gangetic plains have a concentration of CO because of the burning of firewood and emissions from the transport sector. The levels are usually not this high in Delhi. CO takes much longer to dissipate and can stay in the atmosphere for almost a month.

Source: The Times of India, New Delhi, June 27, 2014.

 
As Pune adds vehicles, its air gets worse: The air quality status data for Pune for 2013-14, released by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) recently, shows that several areas in the city have been recording pollution levels which are considerably above the permissible limits since 2005. The nine-year data in the report also said that in 2013-14, Karve Road recorded annual nitrogen oxide (NOx) concentrations that were almost double the standard, indicating high pollution levels. NOx is commonly formed from vehicles during combustion in the engine. The monitoring station on Karve Road was ranked second among the ten monitoring stations in Mumbai, Dombivli, Ambernath, Ulhasnagar, Navi Mumbai, Badlapur, and Kolhapur, which exceeded the annual standards for NOx concentrations. The report also found high carbon monoxide (CO) and benzene concentrations in Pune in comparison to other cities, including Mumbai.

Source: The Times of India, Pune, June 30, 2014.

 
^Top
Health impacts
 
Indians losing over years of their life due to high pollution levels: study: Michael Greenstone of MIT says almost 6.28 mn population in 281 districts of India is exposed to health risks due to poor adherence to pollution standards India’s over 121 billion strong population stands to gain almost 3.3 years of their life if all parts of the country adhere to the air quality standards laid down by the government, a new study by well-known Environment Economist Professor Michael Greenstone, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology showed. Greenstone, who presented his study at the recently held annual meeting of Public Health Federation of India (PHFI), said that almost 6.28 million population in 281 districts of India is exposed to health risks due to poor adherence to pollution standards. Greenstone, who also served as the Chief Economist for President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors in the first year of his Administration and was editor of The Review of Economics and Statistics, said India should allow civil penalties for pollution related cases and wind down diesel subsidies to decrease transport emissions.

Source: Business Standard, New Delhi, April 2, 2014.

 
Agra doctor moves green tribunal over air pollution: Raising alarm bells over the adverse effect of air pollution on fetuses and newborns, a paediatric surgeon has moved the National Green Tribunal (NGT) seeking directions to the authorities to act against the scourge of our times. Dr Sanjay Kulshresthra, the Agra-based petitioner, quotes a number of scientific studies indicating an increasing trend of low birth weight, pre-term deliveries and physical anomalies among babies in Indian cities. On Monday, he urged NGT to issue a number of urgent directions to the government to reduce air pollution, including specifying the "road-life" of private and commercial vehicles and take measures to withdraw vehicles that had crossed this specified period. He appealed for directions to permit a person to own just one personal four-wheeler and suggested that tax benefits be withdrawn for people going in for a second car.

Source: The Times of India, New Delhi, May 14, 2014.

 
Pollution board to assess lead level in traffic cops: The Karnataka Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), in association with National Referral Centre for Lead Project in India (NRCLPI), has taken up a study to assess the levels of lead — the result of increasing pollution level in the city — in the bodies of the city's traffic cops. Interestingly, the presence of lead in traffic cops could be an indicator of air quality in Bangalore. The programme will be launched on Saturday. NRCLPI director Dr Venkatesh Thuppil said, "The lead level in traffic cops was assessed way back in 1999 when we were using leaded petrol. Thereafter, the Government of India banned its sale and in 2000, unleaded petrol was introduced. Since then, there has not been any study or observation to assess the level of lead among traffic cops." However, with the increase of vehicular traffic, the pollution watchdog and the Bangalore Traffic Police realised that the lead levels should be checked immediately.

Source: Bangalore Mirror, Bangalore, June 28, 2014.

 
^Top
 
Alternative Fuels
 
City to get CNG mother station in New Year 2015: City is likely to get its first CNG mother station in New Year 2015. Member of Parliament Dr Chintamani Malviya, Minister of School Education Paras Jain and BJP city president Iqbal Singh Gandhi visited the land of Oil Fed located at Nagziri where the mother station to be built, on Saturday.Mile long queues were in fact a common sight near the one and only CNG station located at Rishi Nagar, but citizens will soon have another CNG station to lessen their worries. CNG crisis had rocked the city over the past three years and had made many frustrated operators of CNG vehicles turn riotous at the filling station.The installation of mother station will play a significant role in solving the CNG crisis in the city. At present, there are just two-booster stations at Rishinagar and the one is reserved for city buses.

Source: The Free Press Journal, Ujjain, June 1, 2014

 
BMTC to Replace its Fleet with CNG Buses, Says Reddy: Joining the battle against rising air pollution levels, the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has decided to bid goodbye to diesel buses and run vehicles on compressed natural gas (CNG). “BMTC, which had decided to buy 310 luxury buses from Volvo this year, has now asked the company to supply 310 CNG buses. Similarly, 67 CNG buses are being purchased for KSRTC,” Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy said on Friday. He said the BMTC will henceforth buy 500-600 CNG buses every year and the entire fleet would be operated on CNG in another 10 years. “CNG buses will be introduced in other cities too at later stages. This will go a long way in reducing air pollution in Bangalore,” the minister said. CNG filling stations will be set up at all KSRTC and BMTC depots in the coming years by the Gas Authority of India.

Source: The New Indian Express, Bangalore, June 21, 2014.

 
^Top
In-use vehicles
 
No pollution under control in Bhopal: Smoke-belching monsters zip around the capital streets unchecked. And despite a mandatory clause in Motor Vehicle Act to install pollution control centres in every city, Bhopal does not have a single pollution under control (PUC) centre. It may come as a shocker to many, but the administration has kept the issue on the back-burner for years. The irony cannot be missed as most officials do not even have an idea on the status of PUCs in city or whether it was ever functional. The issue is in focus on World Environment Day. The job of certifying PUCs comes under the transport department and its offices in the districts are supposed give authorization letters to private parties for checking pollution in vehicles and hand over self-generated slips from a device to check pollution to vehicle owners. The count of PUCs in a city depends on number of vehicles. The entire procedure is monitored by the collector.

Source: The Times of India, Bhopal, June 5, 2014.

 
Govt. may take a new look at age-based scrapping of vehicles: An age-based norm for scrapping motor vehicles, something the automobile industry favours but to which truckers are opposed, is likely to get a new look from the government. The expert committee on Auto Fuel Vision and Policy 2025 is pushing for it, at least concerning older commercial vehicles. Though not the first time, what makes the panel’s report significant is the backdrop in which it comes. For the industry, which has been highlighting the need for a scrappage policy, it has been a period of prolonged slowdown in demand. Any support, is bound to find favour with the industry and the report by the expert committee, headed by Planning Commission member Saumitra Chaudhuri, is not likely to be an exception. The report said: “Vehicles used as personal transport cover progressively less and less distance with age.

Source: The Hindu, Bangalore, June 30, 2014.

 
^Top
Transportation and traffic
 
Use parking lots for vehicles only: PCMC: The Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation will take action against owners of commercial buildings along the Pune-Mumbai highway who have turned the basements into shops or use it for other commercial activities instead of vehicle parking.The haphazard parking of vehicles on the 12-km highway stretch is causing traffic congestion as the municipal corporation has created dedicated lanes for the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS).PCMC has widened the 12km highway stretch to 61 metre, with service roads on either side. While the main highway stretch has four lanes, the service road has two lanes. Dedicated lanes have been constructed on the service roads. One lane is used for BRTS and the other is available for private vehicles on the service road.The haphazard parking on the service road is causing major traffic problems.

Source: The Times of India, Pune, April 10, 2014

 
Parking rates up at Janpath, Barakhamba: Now, pay more for parking at Connaught Place and neighbouring markets, which have been identified as premium parking zones. As part of the pilot project, New Delhi Municipal Council has implemented the new parking rate-Rs 20 per hour-at Janpath and Barakhamba parking lots. The civic agency has outsourced the project to Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System. The two parking lots were handed over to DIMTS last month. NDMC officials say more parking sites will be handed over to DIMTS after they streamline the system in these two parking lots. "They are supposed to put boom barrier, use handheld devices for issuing parking tickets, etc. We will gradually hand over all the sites in CP to them," said a senior NDMC official. While NDMC officials say the new rates will ease traffic congestion in the popular market, car users aren't happy.

Source: The Times of India, New Delhi, May 8, 2014.

 
Ranchi buses to come under RMC purview: The state government has handed over the responsibility of running city buses to Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) after the Jharkhand Tourism Development Corporation (JTDC) refused to carry on with the task. Deputy director of JTDC, Shailendra Lal said the corporation has incurred huge losses of late. "We are accountable for tourism development in the state. The city buses should be managed by the municipal corporation as per norms. However, we have been managing the affairs for long but not any longer. From June 14, the RMC will be responsible for running the buses," he said. Explaining the reasons behind the decision, Lal said, "We do not have adequate infrastructure and the district administration does not support us in any way. Also there are no proper bus stands and depots in the city. The buses are incurring losses and the government has to make up for it."

Source: The Times of India, Ranchi, May 18, 2014.

 
200 parking challans issued daily: To streamline traffic, awareness is required to set an example. When it comes to following traffic norms, city cuts a sorry figure. Unauthorised parking results in traffic snarls across busy roads in the city. Over the years, parking menace has emerged as the biggest challenge to tackle. The problem is only getting worse with time, it appears. In the first four months of the year, an average of 200 no-parking tickets (to two-wheelers and four-wheelers) have been issued to erring motorists on a daily basis. In the corresponding period last year, 50 motorists were taken to task on an average. Increased number of vehicles on the roads or extra efforts of traffic personnel fail to justify the four-fold jump. The annual growth of vehicles has been 8% per cent and strength of traffic cops is between 500 and 550.

Source: The Times of India, Lucknow, June 2, 2014.

 
M Ramachandran: Urban transport in focus, finally: The recently submitted National Transport Development Policy Committee Report, while covering all main modes of transport, has a section devoted to urban transport. This is significant, since this sector has never got exclusive attention and was discussed generally as part of surface transport. Cities are growing, and with the huge addition of personalised vehicles, urban mobility is getting more and more complicated. It is heartening for city dwellers that the committee has paid detailed attention to this emerging but traditionally neglected segment of our transport system. While it is a fact that urban transport cannot be seen in isolation from the overall city-planning process, what is badly needed is to give importance to such transport in the local-body governance schemes and having transport personnel in position at the city levels.

Source: Business Standard, New Delhi, June 14, 2014.

 
Coming up: Intelligent transportation system: The Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) has finalised the draft Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Master Plan-2031 for the Hyderabad Metropolitan Area (HMA). The plan was finalised after incorporating valid suggestions and objections received from the public. The same would be posed to the Executive Committee of HMDA (consisting of senior officials from HMDA, GHMC, APIIC, APHB, APSRTC, Finance, Urban Planning and District Collectors of Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Medak, Nalgonda and Mahaboobnagar) to discuss the pros and cons of the report. The organisation received about 80 to 90 suggestions and objections in this regard. For the first time in the country, HMDA initiated the ITS master plan for HMA, with an aim to reduce traffic accidents, enhancing communication and response in emergency, reducing energy consumption and efficiency in reaching destination, increase national and regional economic output through efficient utilisation of transport facilities.

Source: The New Indian Express, Hyderabad, June 16, 2014.

 
1,800 of 3,700 GPS devices go missing from DTC buses: Around half of the 3,700 GPS devices, fitted in various DTC buses in the national capital ahead of the Commonwealth Games 2010, have gone missing. According to a senior DTC official, around 1,800 such devices have been stolen since their installation in 2010. The development comes as a setback for Delhi Transport Corporation’s aim to make operations of DTC buses more effective in terms of punctuality and to keep a tab on their whereabouts in real time. DTC had installed GPS devices in 3,700 buses, including AC and non-AC floor buses with an aim to improve bus service ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2010. Corporation had also installed passenger information systems at various bus shelters across the national capital in order to track bus operation. “Of the 3,700, nearly 1,800 GPS devices have been stolen from AC and non-AC floor buses since their installation.

Source: The Indian Express, New Delhi, June 20, 2014.

 
Now, an app to rate public transport: The next time you use public transport you can provide feedback through phone. Delhi eGovernance Society (DeGS) has developed an android-based mobile app in an effort to improve the capital's transport system. The Society—which works under the information technology department—plans to share the data with the transport department and Delhi Police for better safety measures and crackdown on errant drivers. DeGS administers the implementation of e-governance projects in Delhi. The feedback for a particular public transport vehicle can be also known by typing the registration number. The body has also provided a web link at http: www.degs.org.in/Mapp.aspx for those without android phones. "Commuters, especially women & senior citizens, face difficulty while using public transport. Many a time auto or taxi drivers refuse to go to the desired destination; they charge excess fare, misbehave with passengers and even leave them midway.

Source: The Times of India, New Delhi, June 23, 2014

 
Regulate Traffic, Clean City: KCR: police, transport and RTC officials to work in tandem to ease traffic congestion in the city and help build its brand image. The chief minister said it was essential that there are no traffic snarls in the city, and for this to happen, the only way is to have an efficient public transport system to discourage use of private vehicles. He wanted the officials to ensure that at every bus stage, a queue system is followed and LCD screens set up to help commuters. He referred to the city bus service in Mumbai and wanted Transport Minister Mahender Reddy to lead a team of officials there to understand how bus services could be run so efficiently there. He wanted the officials to ensure that pedestrian safety is also kept in mind. He wanted traffic control improved at the 221 junctions in the city so that pedestrians could cross roads without any difficulty.

Source: The New Indian Express, Hyderabad June 24, 2014.

 
Bus maintenance hit by infrastructure problems: Maintenance of Starbuses has taken a back seat due to lack of infrastructure and this is resulting in many unfit buses carrying commuters on city roads daily. Unfit buses, without brake lights or window panes, can be spotted running on the road everyday. Poor maintenance of buses can also be gauged from the fact that of the 470 buses, including 240 JNNURM buses, only 200-220 buses are currently plying on the city roads. The less number of serviceable buses is also resulting in overcrowding on many busy routes, like Hingna, Godhani, Koradi, Kamptee, Butibori, Pardi etc. City RTO S Shelke admitted that the condition of buses is deteriorating every day and clarified that they had given many instructions to the operator through Nagpur Municipal Corporation. But nothing has been done to improve the condition of the buses, he said.

Source: The Times of India, Nagpur, June 24, 2014.

 
Failed road transport policies causing deaths in India: Experts: The failure of India's various road transport policies, lack of amendments in the motor vehicle act and negligence by various stakeholders in society are the reasons why India has the highest number of road deaths in the world, experts said here Monday. The experts said roads in Indian cities are designed to increase speed of motor vehicles and neglect the safety or the rights of walkers, cyclists and public transport users. During a discussion "Our Safe Right of Way" organised by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), they said that though there were key provisions in existing laws that have a bearing on pedestrian safety, they were not harmonised for effective implementation. "The lack of road audits before throwing them open for the general public and building them without a proper safety plan are leading to the high number of road deaths in the country," said CSE director general Sunita Narain.

Source: Business Standard, New Delhi, June 24, 2014.

 
1,000 km of new BRT would save 27,000 lives in India: World Bank: World Bank President Jim Young Kim has said India can save more than 27,000 lives and create over 128,000 jobs if it builds 1,000 kilometres of new bus rapid transit (BRT) lanes in the next 20 years. "If India built 1,000 kilometres of new, bus rapid transit lanes, over 20 years, that could save more than 27,000 lives by reducing air pollution and accidents and create more than 128,000 jobs," World Bank President, Jim Young Kim, said. Speaking at the release of a report "Climate-Smart Development", according to which USD 3-4 billion is needed to develop 1,000 kms of BRT corridors in about 20 cities across India within 6-12 years, kim said India could also reduce "greenhouse gas emissions by about 42 million tons". Released in advance of the UN Secretary General's Climate Summit in September, the report- that focuses on five countries - Brazil, China, India, Mexico and the US plus the European Union - shows the potential economic, health and other gains from scaling up climate-smart policies as well as projects already in place in developing countries like Brazil, India and Mexico.

Source: The Economic Times, June 24, 2014.

 
“Pedestrians, cyclists most vulnerable on Delhi roads”: Pedestrians and cyclists have emerged as the most vulnerable group on Delhi roads with the two of them accounting for the largest share of road injuries and deaths. Worse, Delhi also has the highest number of fatal accidents among all major cities, with five deaths recorded per day. This has been revealed in the latest assessment of road accident risk and accident hotspots in Delhi by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), which recently released this data at a workshop titled ‘Our Safe Right to Way – Addressing safety and accessibility in Indian cities’. According to the report, Delhi ranks the highest in terms of fatal accidents and in number of pedestrians and cyclists falling victim to road crashes. Every week, two cyclists and one car rider dies in Delhi. Till May this year, road accidents had claimed 325 lives during the night and 332 lives during the day.

Source: The Hindu, New Delhi, June 25, 2014.

 
Cycling Tracks Usurped by Parked Vehicles and Apathy: The bicycle tracks in Jayanagar, inaugurated in 2012, have been taken over by motorists to park their vehicles and nothing is being done to fix the problem. Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) and traffic police pass the buck around. The commissioner of DULT, V Manjula, first corrects us by announcing that these are not cycle tracks per say but sections of space near the many junctions in Jayangar, that will help cyclists navigate the roads safely. "But we've learned from the mistakes we made in Jayanagar. Motorists aren't ready to share space on roads with cyclists yet. The purpose of those cycling lanes is not being served. Now we're planning on making segregated cycle lanes in Jayanagar. We're still in the planning stages, so it'll be a while before they materialise," says Manjula. When asked if the roads of Jayanagar are wide enough to accommodate cycle lanes, she says, "We're only looking at the wider roads in these areas and will limit ourselves to making cycle tracks."

Source: The New Indian Express, Bangalore, June 30, 2014.

 
Kozhikode to get dedicated cycle tracks soon: The pleas of cycle-lovers in the city for a separate track for cycling is likely to be materialized soon. The district collector, who is also the chairperson of the student travel facility committee, has directed the public works department to study the feasibility for introducing dedicated cycle tracks along the new roads and roads under development. The district administration has also given a direction to carry out feasibility studies on the possibilities for introducing cycle tracks in the city. The roads, the work of which is yet to be started under the city roads improvement scheme, will also be considered for the construction of dedicated cycle tracks. The scope for depending on bicycles for reducing road accidents and congestion on the roads will be reviewed by the district administration, said collector C A Latha. Construction of dedicated cycle tracks are being considered to ensure the safety of school children who use cycle for their travel.

Source: The Times of India, Kozhikode, June 30, 2014.

 
^Top
In Court
 
High court seeks night pollution report: Calcutta high court on Monday directed the Kolkata Police, the state transport department and the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) to file status and action-taken reports on night-time pollution in Kolkata, on the basis of suggestions made by environment activist Subhas Datta, within four weeks. The division bench of Chief Justice A K Mishra and Justice Joymalya Bagchi was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by Datta on the matter. The green activist had contended that Residual Particulate Matter (RPM) levels at night — particularly from mid-September to mid-March — are much higher at night than during the day. In their reports placed before the court, the transport department and the WBPCB had agreed to this, after which Datta was asked for suggestions to curb the menace. Though his suggestions were placed before the state government, no action plan has been submitted till date.

Source: The Times of India, Kolkata, April 29, 2014

 
HC unhappy over lack of progress on Auto LPG in Kashmir: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has expressed displeasure at the lack of progress in setting up of Auto LPG dispensing outlets in Kashmir Valley and has directed the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. to file a status report in this regard by July 8. Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar passed the order following perusal of a status report filed by the State’s Transport Commissioner. In the report, the Commissioner has disclosed that in response to a letter sent by his office, a communication has been received from the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, stating that required formalities are being done and necessary statutory approvals are being obtained for installation of the Auto LPG dispensing outlets in Valley. “The response given by the Indian Oil Corporation is not only vague and cryptic but does not disclose any progress made,” the Bench said and impleaded the IOC through its Deputy General Manager, Chandigarh, as party respondent in the PIL “so that effective directions are issued to the Corporation.”

Source: Kashmir Reader, June 8, 2014

 
^Top
 

 

Announcements

  • Air pollution is the fifth largest killer and seventh biggest illness burden in India as estimated by the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) report. The speed at which urban air pollution is growing across our cities is alarming. Severe particulate pollution and newer pollutants like nitrogen oxides, ozone and air toxics are worsening the public health challenge. Vehicles are a special challenge as these are the fastest growing sources of air pollution.

Follow us on 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
gobar times