After 21 months of launching the campaign, the monthly Bus Day events by Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) are paying dividends. The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, which has been following the changes in the measure of pollutants in the air on Bus day, says terms the change “remarkable”.
On an average, there is a 10% decrease in the amount of pollutants in the air on Bus Day. “The particulate matter, below 10 microns reduces by at least 10%. There is also a significant decrease in the amount of sodium dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) as well as carbon monoxide. Last year, the overall reduction in pollution was at 11.3% on Bus Day,” said an official of the KSPCB.
A study by the board notes that sulphur dioxide content goes down by 13.2%, nitrogen oxide by 9% and carbon monoxide by 10.5%. Also, the presence of RSPM is reduced by 13.3%.
However, statistics available on the KSPCB website shows that the level of pollutants go back to the usual, immediately after the Bus Day. On Bus Day in August, the statistics recorded from Kathriguppe Road showed that the level of oxides of nitrogen, RSPM and carbon monoxide may have decreased by 23.1%, 11.2% and 38.5%, respectively. But the day after, the levels went back to more or less the same levels as those on normal days.
The lack of consistency decreases the actual contribution of Bus Day in reducing the levels of pollution in the city. According to the KSPCB official, “The step taken up by people on Bus Day needs to be followed up with a definitive action to increase the use of public transport on other days too. The BMTC also needs to increase the number of Bus Days a month. We have also made a recommendation towards this with the ministers concerned.”
The BMTC may not have any qualms about increasing the number of Bus Days per month, but it has no plans in this regard yet. “The permission has to come from the minister,” said Prabhudas, chief transport manager, operations, BMTC.
“But we could suggest it to him and see what can be done,” he said.
On an average, every Bus Day reduces the number of vehicles on city roads by 8 lakh, thus reducing pollution.