Pune: Winter has started in Delhi and in most parts of the country, but due to air pollution in Delhi, the citizens of Delhi are already facing problems. The air pollution is so high that the authorities have been forced to close schools. Pune has also been showing signs of high Particulate Matter (PM) levels in the recent past. Although Punekars are in a comparatively better position, if immediate steps are not taken, then we may also have to face a dire situation like Delhi.
A report released in September by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) said that in the past two years, about 40 percent of the PM 2.5 pollutants in the air in the Pune city and district were in the ‘good’ category. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is classified into six categories, very good, satisfactory, moderately polluted, poor, very poor, and severe.
Air pollution is increasing
The report said that there has been an increase in air pollution in Pune, but it is still below the mark that existed before the onset of the corona pandemic. TERI has found that road dust, construction work, and related sectors together made up 58 percent of PM10 particulate emissions in Pune in 2021. In this, carbon monoxide (61 percent) and nitrous oxide (71 percent) were identified as the main sources.
The increasing number of vehicles in the city
According to the Environment Report 2021-22 of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), the number of vehicles in the city has increased to 33,24,582. In 2021, 1,70,115 new vehicles joined the city. However, around 94 percent of the new vehicles are in Bharat Stage VI (BS-VI) form on the roads. In 2021, 6,219 new electric vehicles were registered against 1,450 in 2020.
PMC’s exercise continues to reduce pollution
According to officials from PMC’s environment department, it is important and timely to develop institutional mechanisms to control air pollution and strengthen preparedness for cities like Pune that enjoy relatively clean air quality. has become a necessity. This is necessary considering the gravity of the country’s air pollution crisis. Healthy air purity is essential for the economic growth of any city. Reduction of air pollution in Pune is the priority of PMC and we have been working in this direction since 2017. The National Clean Air Program (NCAP) was launched by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change in January 2019. It has set a target of reducing air pollution by 20-30 percent by 2024. NCAP is being implemented across 102 cities. The Environment Department of PMCs across the country, including in Pune, has drawn up a plan, which includes an alert system for air pollution levels, an inter-agency coordination structure, and measures for information, education, and access to local communities, including vulnerable groups. PMC aims to enhance its preparedness to meet health emergencies related to air pollution and work towards improving the air quality in the city.