With the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation planning to introduce low carbon mobility plans, the issue of vehicular pollution has come into focus.

With the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation planning to introduce low carbon mobility plans, the issue of vehicular pollution has come into focus.

A total of 4.6 lakh vehicles, including heavy vehicles owing to the operations of Visakhapatnam Port Trust and several industries including the steel plant, Gangavaram port, HPCL, etc ply on the roads of Visakhapatnam. Besides, the national highway passes through the major part of the city adding to its pollution levels. The increased plying of autorickshaws is also cited as one of the reasons for vehicular pollution. Earlier the city used to have only 8,000 autos, but with its limit expanding with the formation of Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation it has gone up to 20,000.

Their number has multiplied significantly over the last five years. “Their number is 5,090 in 2007 and in 2012 the total number of autos registered is 35,994,” Regional Transport Officer G.Vivekananda Reddy told The Hindu. That includes the autos in Gajuwaka and Madhurawada.

Fitness certificates are issued to autos every year on the basis of which they ply. Another factor that leads to increased plying of autos is that they can ply up to 50 km. That is even if an auto is registered at Anakapalle it can ply in the city.

Additional DCP (Traffic) Suresh Babu said in 1992 a GO was issued restricting the number of autos to 8,000 and if the limit exceeds such new vehicles were to be registered to be run only on LPG. The GO restricting the number of autos to 8,000 was implemented then and autos from Gajuwaka were restricted up to Railway Station and those from Madhurwada area up to Hanumantavaka. But with the GVMC being expanded the limits are no longer valid more and there are no curbs on registration of new vehicles. The AP Pollution Control Board says the pollution caused by automobiles is within permissible limits. The permissible limit for carbon monoxide (CO) in ambient air on hourly average is 4 milligram for cubic metre, says PCB Executive Engineer U. Ali Khan. The APPCB that monitors the CO levels found that on several occasions it is 2 ppm/cum or 3 ppm/cum. Only in May it recorded 4 ppm/cum. When recorded for 15 minutes it recorded 5 ppm/cum at the RTC Complex. However, on many days it ranges from 0 to 3 ppm, Mr. Khan says adding the CO pollution levels are within limits.

The only way out to reduce even those levels is to replace the existing autos with those run on CNG. In Vijayawada, where for registration of new autos that must be run on CNG a diesel auto has to be phased out. In Delhi the CO levels used to be high before the public/private transport shifted to CNG

Right now the city has only three LPG filling stations, says Mr. Vivekanadna Reddy. “We need at least 20 CNG stations so that the demand for autos can be met,” he estimates.

More use of public transport that too on CNG is the way out of vehicular pollution.

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