Pune was once known for its clean air and perfect weather. It is still known for the same but with 7000 new vehicles on the road each month since the year 2002 the effect seems to have reduced. The city will have to work really hard to improve its air quality which has shown increased levels of pollutants like carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds in the past decade.
Of these, carbon monoxide (CO) is the highest emitted pollutant in the city, with an estimated total emission of 180.3 gigagram per year (Gg/yr) in 2012. CO emission in the city has increased by about 39 % in 2012-13 from the inventory in 2001. Carbon monoxide, VOCs and other gases emitted by human activity lead to the formation of ozone in the lower atmosphere which is a hazardous component of urban smog. High levels of carbon monoxide in cities are usually caused by a large number of vehicles idling in traffic.
Transport and industrial sectors are mostly responsible for a large slice of pollutant emissions in Pune followed by residential and commercial sectors.
A gigagram or Gg is a unit of mass equal to 1,000,000,000 grams. It shows the weight of pollutants that go into the atmosphere every year from sources of pollution on the ground. The more these emissions, the higher will be the concentration of poisonous pollutants in the city.
Direct exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide can make people feel dizzy and tired and cause headaches. The elderly with heart disease are hospitalized more often when they are exposed to higher amounts of carbon monoxide.
Transport sector emits around 81% of CO, while the industrial sector contributes 9 % to the total CO emission while the residential sector contributes 10% in Pune metropolitan region.
Exposure to particulate pollution can cause wheezing and other symptoms in people with ASTHMA OR SENSITIVE AIRWAYS. Particulate pollution has been linked to increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits for respiratory problems and to a substantial increase in premature deaths.