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Bengaluru witnessing bad air quality, higher than WHO guidelines

Bengaluru: Vehicles stuck in a traffic jam after authorities allowed commercial activities during COVID-induced lockdown, in Bengaluru, Monday, July 5, 2021. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak)(PTI07_05_2021_000144B)

Bengaluru: According to a report by the environmental advocacy group Greenpeace, all ten air quality monitoring stations in Bengaluru have recorded pollution levels higher than World Health Organization (WHO) standards.

The news: The report emphasised that cities across India are breathing polluted air, and that pollution is not limited to northern Indian cities.

  • “According to India’s Airpocalypse IV report, more than 80 per cent of cities/towns had PM10 levels exceeding the 60g/m3 limits for PM10 prescribed by the CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) under National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).”
  • The annual average values of PM 2.5 and PM 10 at all Bengaluru locations were referred to, and they were found to be higher than WHO revised standards.
  • “Aside from that, all of the stations’ PM 2.5 values are within NAAQS standards, and eight stations’ PM 10 values are higher than NAAQS standards,” according to the report.
  • The report comes at a time when city dwellers prefer private vehicles to avoid the risk of contracting COVID- 19 in public transportation. It went on to say that, despite the pandemic’s repeated lockdowns, the annual average PM2.5 and PM10 levels in all 10 south Indian cities studied exceeded the WHO’s revised standards.

What’s going on: Bengaluru, with a population of over 12 million people, has nearly 10 million vehicles in an area of about 800 square kilometres. Bad roads, poor planning, and an increase in private vehicles have resulted in a rapid decline in Bengaluru’s quality of life, which was once known as India’s garden city. The city’s vehicular movement is so slow that it gained global notoriety when it was named the world’s worst traffic by the Netherlands-based TomTom index.

  • According to the ninth edition of TomTom’s Annual Traffic Index, a global provider of navigation, traffic, and map products, Bengaluru topped the list in 2019, beating out 415 other cities from 57 countries.
  • According to a TomTom report, “Bengaluru takes the top spot this year, with drivers in the southern Indian city expecting to spend an average of 71 percent more travel time stuck in traffic.”

Vehicle emissions are the most significant contributor to air pollution in Bengaluru, followed by construction.

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