With the festive season over, new air quality index show Kolkata as a worst performer in terms of pollution control. Since past 72 hours data revealed Air Quality Index has been worse than Delhi’s, making city of joy the most polluted metro in the country.
A comparison of the pollution data at two stations in Kolkata — Rabindra Bharati University and Victoria Memorial Hall — with Ashok Vihar, one of the worst polluted zones in Delhi, shows that Kolkata’s AQI has consistently been above that of Delhi. There are 19 automatic stations in Delhi to monitor the city’s air quality against only two in Kolkata.
With the vehicle count in Kolkata barely a fourth of Delhi, the index may seem baffling. Environmentalists say it is a result of pro-activeness to improve air quality in Delhi and complacency in Kolkata that has led to this unhappy situation.
Environmentalist say the data from the station at RBU on BT Road is representative of Kolkata’s air quality while that from Victoria Memorial hall encircled as green zone in a non-residential Maidan area represents the best possible air quality in the city. Kolkata’s air routinely gets toxic during winter when inversion of temperature traps finer particulate matter closer to the ground, leading to adverse health effects.
While the rest of India is aggressively experimenting with mixing bio-fuel with diesel to bring down particulate pollution, Kolkata has so far done nothing noteworthy. CTC, a state-owned transport operator in Kolkata, was the first PSU in the country to adopt bio-diesel experiment for its bus fleet. But for reasons unknown, it stopped using the environment friendly like bio gas, CNG and other options.
Auto emission expert Somendra Mohan Ghosh said: ‘While Delhi goes with odd-even experiment, somehow it works, Kolkata has chosen to sit tight and ignore the issue. Worse, it has over the years turned into a diesel vehicle capital with note vehicle running on the fuel that is dirtier than petrol.” Research says, Air Quality Index degrades every year festive time as administration and localities violates green bench direction. The administration has to react on controlling ill mannered vehicles and citizens should be aware on pollution control check.