Vehicular pollution in city has gone up 35% in 5 yrs

“There has been a significant increase in the number of vehicles in the city . The transport sector is one of the main contributors to pollution in Pune. In 2010, it accounted for 30% of total PM10 emissions and it has gone up to 36% this year,“ said Gufran Beig, SAFAR programme director and senior IITM scientist. In comparison, the increase in PM10 emissions from the transport sector in a city like Delhi was 26%, he said.

Black carbon and PM2.5 levels, which include fine dust particles that can only be seen with an electron microscope and are the more dangerous to health, have also increased similarly .

In 2010, the more stringent BS-III and BS-IV norms were introduced for vehicles registered in Pune. This has resulted in new vehicles, added in the last five years, causing much lesser pollution than older vehicles. Without the new norms, the increase in pollution levels would have been even higher.

“All four-wheelers sold in the city have to comply with BS-IV norms, whereas all two-wheelers have to comply with BS-III norms. These are more stringent than the BS-II norms that were in place earlier,“ explained regional transport officer Jitendra Patil.

In the last five years, the number of vehicles in the city has increased from about 19 lakh to over 29 lakh “All 10 lakh vehicles tha were added to the streets comply with the higher stan dards of emission,“ Pati said asserting that if it were not so, pollution figures in the city would have been even higher.

“Older vehicles tend to pollute more and that is why we are levying an additiona environmental tax on vehicles that are more than 15 years old. The tax is set at Rs 3,000 for petrol cars, Rs 3,500 for diesel cars and Rs 2,000 for two-wheelers,“ Patil stated.

However, lack of public transport facilities remains the key reason for rising pollution levels. If alternative mass transit systems weremade available, there would be fewer vehicles on the streets, he added.
Source : TOI

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Air pollution kills 7 million people every year: WHO report

Air pollution kills about 7 million people worldwide every year, with more than half of the fatalities due to fumes from indoor stoves, according to a new report from the World Health Organisation published on Tuesday.

The agency said that air pollution is the cause of about one in eight deaths and has now become the single biggest environmental health risk. We all have to breathe, which makes pollution very hard to avoid said director of the environmental research group at King’s College London, who was not part of the WHO report. One of the main risks of pollution is that tiny particles can get deep into the lungs, causing irritation. Scientists also suspect air pollution may be to blame for inflammation in the heart, leading to chronic problems or a heart attack.

WHO estimated that there were about 4.3 million deaths in 2012 caused by indoor air pollution, mostly people cooking inside using wood and coal stoves in Asia. WHO said that there were about 3.7 million deaths from outdoor air pollution in 2012, of which nearly 90 percent were in developing countries. But WHO noted that many people are exposed to both indoor and outdoor air pollution. Due to this overlap, mortality attributed to the two sources cannot simply added together, hence WHO said that it lowered the total estimate from around 8 million to 7 million deaths in 2012.
The new estimates are more than double previous figures and based mostly on modeling. The increase is partly due to better information about the health effects of pollution and improved detection methods. Last year, WHO’s cancer agency classified air pollution as a carcinogen, linking dirty air to lung and bladder cancer.

WHO’s report noted that women had higher levels of exposure than men in developing countries. Poor women and children pay a heavy price from indoor air pollution since they spend more time at home breathing in smoke and soot from leaky coal and wood cook stoves, WHO Assistant Director-General for family, women and children’s health, said in a statement. Other experts said that more research was needed to identify the deadliest components of pollution in order to target control measures more effectively. They don’t know if dust from the Sahara is as bad as diesel fuel or burning coal, said chair in global environmental health at Imperial College London. He said that it was mostly up to governments to curb pollution levels, through measures like legislation, moving power stations away from big cities and providing cheap alternatives to indoor wood and coal stoves.

He said that people could also reduce their individual exposure to choking fumes by avoiding traveling at rush hour or by taking smaller roads. Despite the increasing use of face masks in heavily polluted cities, he said that there was little evidence that they work. The real problem is that wearing masks sends out the message they can live with polluted air, he said.  They need to change their way of life entirely to reduce pollution.

Source:, Mar’14

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Rise in Pollutants…!!

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.

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Multipurpose chullah

City-based entrepreneur Shankar Pacharane has come up with a unique smokeless multipurpose chullah which woks on works on solar energy.
In this chullah one can also charge a mobile phone or get light in addition to cooking. This multi-purpose chullah has been connected with a solar panel which charges the battery fitted inside the chullah. There are attached a fan so that whenever one switches on the button, air starts flowing and this helps to ignite the chullah.
Waste items like dried leaves, cow-dung and wood can be used as fuel. Pipe is attached to the chullah from where, the smoke flows out. Intention to popularize this item in the rural areas where such fuel is available in plenty is, this chullah does not require any electric support and works only on non-conventional sources like the sun.
Solar energy charges the battery which can work for over six hours. This chullah is useful in the present times when the cost of the liquid petroleum gas is rising. By using this chullah, you can save money on fuel products and instead use vegetable waste, thus ensuring effective waste management.

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Rise in air pollution in the city

The dip in the mercury, over the last few days, has resulted in an increase in the air pollution level in the city. The level of respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM), over the last 15 days has soon a steady rise, indicating deterioration in the air quality in the city.
RSPM, is the particulate matter which is present in the air. While the permissible limits for RSPM is 100 microgram per cubic meter, the measurement has shown that over the last 15 days, it has been over 200 microgram per cubic meters. Such sharp increase in the RSPM levels makes the air quality poor and turns the air harmful for children and people.Increase in RSPM levels is due to the combination of various weather conditions. The dip in the temperature does not allow the particulate matter to escape and hence, the air pollution levels rise. Increasing vehicles is another cause that resulted in rise in air pollution. And all this has resulted in a rise in cases of respiratory illness including asthma


Rise in airborne diseases in winter

With the onset of winter and sudden drop in temperature, scores of people are falling ill with upper respiratory tract infections, asthma and skin-related problems. The number of cases has increased by 20 to 40% in hospitals.
Apart from the high air pollution in city, climate change has aggravated blood pressure and heart problems. The other common problems are skin-related problems, such as infections, allergy, itching and rashes.
Because of the high air pollution in the city, the polluted air remains stagnated at the lower level. As respiratory problems increase, people come with complaints such as cold, sore throat, cough and sneezing, among others. When the weather is cold, the blood vessels get constricted. If a patient is already suffering from blood pressure and heart diseases, the sudden exposure to cold weather can lead to complications.
This year there has been an increase in about 30-40% increase in cases during this period. There is a spurt in airborne infections. The drop in temperature aggravates pneumonia and acute bronchitis. One who is prone to arthritis can get infections too.


Pollution gone up during this Diwali

All of us must have celebrated Diwali. Now let us see the effects of Diwali celebration on environment of the city. Air pollution has gone up on this Diwali as compared to 2011. This year, the city reported acute rise in air pollution as compared to last few years. The ambient air quality monitoring by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, has shown that compared to normal days, there was 80% rise in respirable suspended particulate matter pollutant caused due to firecrackers during this year’s Diwali festival.
Respirable suspended particulate matters (RSPM) are fine particles that are harmful to both environment and health.Smoke from firecrackers mainly releases the pollutant PM 2.5, which is more harmful than PM 10. The bursting of firecrackers increases the PM 2.5 level. In PM 2.5, the particles are less than 2.5 micrometers and can enter our system when inhaled. It can cause respiratory problems, including asthma and other upper respiratory diseases.
During winter, pollution is dispersed. With fall in temperature at night, the pollution gets arrested on the surface. This year, it has been observed that the winter pollution has shot up to 20% more compared to last year. Last year, PM 2.5 level was not more than 70-80 ug/m3, whereas this year, it has crossed 100 ug/m3.