Kanpur faces the same dilemma of the mega cities. Like Delhi and Mumbai it has begun to act to curb air pollution and even seen improvement. But like the other mega cities Kanpur’s time to breathe easy is over. Air pollution is again rising. The city will have to act fast to recover the right to clean air again.
Kanpur faces the second generation challenge. It will have to take stock and refocus. It will have to leap ahead to keep ahead of the problem. The increase in vehicles numbers threatens to undo the small incremental gains. It is time to initiate the second generation reforms in Kanpur. The City can lose the gains of its the first generation reforms including the CNG programme if it delays transportation plan to promote public transport, walking and cycling. If dependence on personal vehicles increases pollution and congestion will increase. At stake could be people’s health. Kanpur will see more smog and pollution; more wheeze and asthma. The second generation reforms will need tough action. Soft options have all been exhausted. Plan cities for people not vehicles. Design roads for public transport, cycling and walking. Not cars. This is the option for the city to cut
killer pollution, crippling congestion, expensive oil guzzling and global
warming impacts of vehicles.