Special Correspondent

Six air pollution monitoring meters installed in the city

  • Surroundings of Victoria Hospital have high levels of suspended particle matter
  • The area around the AMCO Batteries plant is another "hot spot"

    Bangalore: The six-air pollution monitoring meters installed here by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board may be recording some startling figures.

    The surroundings of Victoria Hospital, for instance, designated as a "sensitive area", have high levels of suspended particle matter, easily inhaled and likely to cause respiratory disorders.

    Risk

    Not just those passing by the area, patients in the hospital too are at risk with sulphur dioxide content at 21.2 points, nitrogen oxide at 39.1, respiratory suspended particle matter (RSPM) at 64.7 and suspended particles matter at 133 points. The area around the AMCO Batteries plant is another "hot spot" with RSPM as high as 91.8 and the SPM level at 191 points on most days.

    The KHB Industrial Area is relatively better with RSPM at 57.6 and SPM at 137 points though nitrogen oxide content in the air stands at 37.5 points.

    The monitor at Graphite India recorded the highest nitrogen oxide content of 50.7 points. Records compiled by the board reveal that pollution levels have increased though most automobiles now conform to mandatory Bharat II emission norms.

    This is because of more vehicles being on the road and traffic density increasing correspondingly, officials say. The area around Victoria Hospital, for instance, has constant traffic flow to and from the City Market area and Kalasipalya bus terminal.

    The board would ideally like steps taken to reduce pollution levels around hospitals, educational institutions and all residential areas.

    Effective step

    One simple but effective step could be to plant more fast growing trees along road medians where there is sufficient space.

    The plants will absorb much of the pollutants and additionally release more oxygen, improving the air quality.

    Trees and climbing plants, if grown extensively, may also reduce noise pollution to more acceptable levels.

    The Greater Bangalore area will have a mix of residential, commercial and industrial areas.

    `Buffer zones'

    The board has suggested creating "buffer zones" between industrial and residential areas so that people are not directly exposed to pollutants from industries.

    But the problem of automobile emissions cannot be solved that easily.

    That will have to wait for the coming of Metro Rail and other efficient public transportation systems with a corresponding reduction in the number of private vehicles on the road. At least on working days.

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