‘Vehicular pollution should not be ignored’

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia rides a cycle to reach his office in New Delhi on Saturday.- Photo: R.V. Moorthy  

BTM Layout in Bengaluru had the highest annual average concentration of PM2.5, (particulate matter of diameter less than 2.5 micrometres) The Hindu’s analysis of official data found, owing to massive intermittent spikes. The station’s annual average was a whopping 378 micrograms per cubic metre in 2015 as against 157 for Anand Vihar.

CPCB officials in Bengaluru claimed that the spikes, however, are not due to construction or the increasing vehicular movement, but due to erratic power supply.

“Every time the power supply is cut, our system shuts down. On restarting, erratic values start to be generated and this is sent directly to the AQI,” K. Karunakaran, Senior Technical Officer for the Bengaluru zonal division, said.

“The north has higher concentration of particulate matter due to dust and biomass burning, while the impact of combustion sources would be higher in the south,” Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director of the Centre for Science and Environment, explained.

Combustion sources, particularly from vehicles, are more toxic, and therefore, lower values of AQI in the south should not be ignored from a public health perspective, Ms. Roychowdhury said.