Buses might be off the roads for more than a fortnight due to ‘Sakala Janula Samme', but their absence is not being felt on the pollution charts of the city.
With such large fleet of the RTC service not hitting the roads to criss-cross the city, the ambient air quality recordings taken up on daily basis should have reflected it with a drop in its parameters. Yet, it does not happen.
A perusal of the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) data for the period since the buses went off the roads show the key parameter not really taking a downside curve, as one would have anticipated, but hovering almost around the usual range.
A possible reason forwarded for this being that commuters who otherwise used bus service every day had ended up bringing out their personal vehicles in absence of the RTC fleet.
The PCB data from the monitoring stations at Paradise, Abids, Charminar, Nehru Zoological Park, KBR National Park and Punjagutta does not show much decline in terms of the Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) and Total Suspended Particulate Matter (TSPM) during the period.
“There should have been a drop in pollution levels but it not being there means that more personal vehicles have come into use during the absence of buses,” says W.G. Prasanna Kumar, Social Scientist, APPCB.
In terms of emissions, a bus equals to say around 20 or 30 motorcycles. And if a bus is not there and there is no substantial drop in ambient air quality levels, it could mean that 20 to 30 motorcycles have replaced it, points an official.
There has been fluctuation in the TSPM and RSPM loggings for the last fortnight but it did not differ too much from the regular variations. “Since buses belch so much more smoke, the pollution turns visual and hard to ignore.
Instead of one bus, if motorcycles to facilitate commuting of 20 to 30 persons come out, the pollution is same but not so visible,” he adds.