If all goes as planned, citizens may be able to breathe more easily. Improving air quality in the city will be a priority for the BBMP over the next two years. An action plan for nine projects amounting to a total of ₹279 crore and geared towards reducing air pollution has been drawn up by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Action Plan Committee.
Some of the projects are improving pedestrian facilities, using water sprayers and mechanical street-sweeping machines to tackle dust pollution, making urban spaces more green and keeping a check on open-air burning of municipal waste.
The projects are being funded by the Centre under the Urban Local Body grant as recommended by the 15th Finance Commission. In the first instalment, the Union government has released ₹2,200 crore, of which ₹139.5 crore has been sanctioned to Karnataka and transferred to the BBMP.
Senior civic officials told The Hindu that the nine different projects will be executed over the next two years. Various traffic engineering interventions include creating bus bays, development of TenderSURE roads with a focus on creating better pedestrian facilities, paving and maintenance of pedestrian pathways, and footpaths. The procurement and maintenance of sweeping machines and jet sprayers, and traffic engineering interventions account for 18% each of the total funds, around ₹50.22 crore.
Monitoring air quality
The other major projects envisaged include the setting up a central control and command centre for monitoring all data associated with air quality. This has been estimated at ₹44.64 crore and is likely to be implemented by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB).
To tackle the menace of dust, removal of construction and demolition (C&D) waste from public spaces, and enforcement to check C&D waste related pollution will be tackled on a war footing. Both these components account for 8% of the total funds (₹22.32 crore each).
BBMP’s Special Commissioner (Solid Waste Management) D. Randeep, who is part of the action plan committee, said that 50% of the total project cost had already been released to the State. “The BBMP was now in the process of drawing up a micro action plan and detailed project reports, which will be submitted to the Urban Development Department in a week.”