BBMP’s road-widening plan, it seems, is just not going anywhere. Experts say the civic agency’s plan to widen 221 roads is a counter-productive exercise as it would increase pollution levels because it will only add up to Bangalore’s growing misery — Pollution.
The city’s vehicle population already has a high growth rate. As on Friday, Bangalore had 36.68 lakh vehicles — up from 32.40 lakh last year and 34.90 lakh in March this year.
According to transport department records, at least 1,500 new vehicles are registered in Bangalore every day.
Noted environmentalist AN Yellappa Reddy says BBMP fails to understand that more vehicles mean higher pollution and higher nitrous oxide levels.
Paediatric pulmonologist, lung specialist and director of Lakeside Medical Centre and Hospital, Dr H Paramesh, says the present pollutants in the city’s atmosphere — respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM), nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide — can lead to bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia and cardiovascular problems, chronic lung diseases, and lack of oxygen in blood that could even cause death.
Of these pollutants, RSPM and nitrous oxide are the most lethal, says Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) member MS Goudar.
KSPCB has found that nitrous oxide levels in Bangalore (recorded at City Railway Station) are 148 micro grams per metre cube (mgmc), compared to the standard level of 80mgmc.
RSPM, though low at 60mgmc against a standard level of 100mgmc, would also drastically rise if vehicles plying on the roads increase due to the road widening.