Kolkata air pollution is on the rise and the ‘diesel capital’ is now being viewed as the ‘lung-cancer capital’. Recent data on Kolkata air pollution released by the Centre for Science and Environment clearly points towards an alarming situation in the ‘City of Joy’.
We take a look at 8 facts surrounding the Kolkata air pollution situation. As more eyes turn towards the struggling air quality levels in the city, more data will be released. However, for now, these are things you should know about Kolkata air pollution:
1. From 2010 to 2013, official ambient air quality monitoring has shown a spike of 61 per cent in particulate matter (PM) levels in the city.
2. PM levels are almost 2.7 times the standard or safe limit. Official monitors of the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) failed to pick up accurate readings.
3. The level of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is a major vehicular pollutant, was also found to be settling close to twice the normal level.
4. Diesel cars are mainly responsible for the deteriorating Kolkata air pollution situation.
5. Nearly 65 per cent of the new cars in Kolkata are diesel driven. Moreover, 45 per cent of the total oil consumption by the city’s vehicle users is constituted by diesel. That’s nearly half the fleet of vehicles adding to pollution in Kolkata.
6. Tourism is a major revenue generator for Kolkata and commercial vehicles account for a big chunk of total vehicles plying on the road. 99 per cent commercial vehicles in the city are diesel-driven, thus further polluting the air.
7. Traditionally, people of Kolkata have opted for public transport or walking to move around the city. But with high influx of cheap vehicles, and increase in purchasing power, a good habit seems to be disappearing from the city.
8. CSE has advised the state government to enforce air quality standards, backed up by strict vigilance and accountability measures. Scaling up of public transport and car restraints are other key measures which must be taken in order to control the Kolkata air pollution situation.
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