What was once restricted to the outskirts and industrial units, has now pervaded the city

A decade back or so, a reference to pollution conjured images of billowing smoke from chimneys of industrial units on the outskirts, coloured and odorous effluents discharged into the stream and accumulated filth at the dumps. Not any more.

What was once a concept restricted to city outskirts and industrial units, has now pervaded the city and is being felt in even the most cloistered of the residential sectors.

Levels of ambient air quality have over the years plummeted to pathetic levels and most of the crucial parameters narrate the harsh realities of how pollution has come to be a part of daily life.

A major blame for the scenario that has unfolded in the last decade gets placed on the spurt in the number of vehicles that have come to roll down the city streets. It is din that greets one on every street and every junction. Noise levels, from the rising number of vehicles and lack of basic etiquette of driving on honking, have just kept escalating.

Data generated by the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) shows that noise levels average to 87 decibels against the standard of 65 dB and some of the busy corridors reach above 90 dB. Adding more stress to a driver already stressed out from the chaotic traffic conditions, peak noise levels could be more harmful than understood now.

Absence of an effective public transportation that could reach out to the new and emerging residential conglomerates force most to rely on personal transport and add to the harmful emissions. The much awaited and long promised Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is yet to be made available.

Estimates suggest that the city roads are crammed with anywhere up to 18 lakh vehicles and nearly 600 new ones keep getting added each day. Earlier studies put the total vehicular pollution load (VPL) in the city at 1,500 tonnes per day of which Carbon Monoxide (CO) was found to be 61.4 per cent.

Industrial chimneys have been replaced by exhausts of vehicles that keep belching out smoke and no wonder one stepping out of the home in the morning in clean shirt returns in the evening with soot sprayed all over.

The APPCB has been working out at increasing the monitoring stations in and around the city but mere monitoring and collating data hardly promise a solution unless remedial measures are in place.

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