Air pollution: Hyderabad catching up with Delhi

Is Hyderabad going the Delhi way in terms of pollution? If the authorities, social organisations and the people living in the city do not wake up or realise the intensity of the problem, certainly sooner than later Hyderabad will be competing closely with Delhi in terms of pollution. A warning to this effect had come from the Central Pollution Control Board about nine months back. The report clearly stated that Hyderabad was going the Delhi way.

The Air Quality Index bulletin states that Hyderabad has been recorded worse than that of Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Tirupati and Rajamahendravaram. The report said that out of 91 cities where the pollution levels were studied, Hyderabad ranked at 34. As of now, the air quality is moderate.

According to experts, such a category causes discomfort to people suffering from asthma and heart diseases. But neither the government nor the Opposition parties nor even the social organisations seem to be bothered about it. Apart from pollution by heavy vehicles including trucks, the worst pollutants in the city are TSRTC buses as well as auto rickshaws.

The carelessness of two wheeler owners in particular is also something that needs to be mentioned here. They move around emanating heavy smoke as if it is their birth right and care a damn about the environment. The general attitude of people seems that Hyderabad is better than Delhi, but they forget that if the same callous attitude towards environment continues, the dooms day is not far off.

The TSRTC which had sometime promised to introduce eco- friendly buses also is one of the main culprits in promoting pollution. With the standoff between the RTC employees' union and the government continuing and the corporation being in red, it is next to impossible that it would go in for eco-friendly buses.

All such talk by the rulers would remain confined to speeches only. It is unfortunate that governments which are supposed to have good vision for future are ignoring the most important aspect to control pollution despite knowing what is happening in Delhi where schools had to be shut down and even some Airlines are now supplying masks to Delhi bound passengers to protect them from the ill effects of pollution.

A survey conducted by a Benguluru based non-profit organisation in 2018 confirmed that after Delhi, the most affected city due to air pollution was Hyderabad and 78 percent of the people said that they had faced health problems due to bad air.

There are other reports which say that among India's 14 most populous cities, Hyderabad is the fourth worst in emission of high toxic particulate from vehicles. Professor WG Prasanna Kumar, an expert in pollution control said, "The prime source for carbon emission is transportation.

Hyderabad's total particulate emission load from urban commuting is around 900 kg per day which is highly alarming. The city is also a leader in high toxic emission based on per travel trip emission and energy consumption. The energy consumption from urban commuting is 40,000,00 Mjoules per day".

The harm from pollution is not new in Hyderabad. Among India's 14 most populous cities, 'Hyderabad' is the fourth 'worst' in the overall emission of high toxic particulate matter from vehicles and energy used for the urban commute, while capital city Delhi tops the list. The only advantage Hyderabad has is that it does not have the problem of stubble burning.

As far as Hyderabad is concerned, the government also needs to tackle the problem of dust on road. Despite loud proclamations, the government could neither control air pollution nor pollution of the lakes like Hussainsagar in city.

The city which is now being called as global city and best destination needs to drastically improve infrastructural facilities and make it least polluted city. An effective policy on industrial pollution too is necessary. The industries in Kattedan area are among the most notorious ones where pollution is said to be high.

The government would be doing great service to the people if it can take the lead in ensuring that Hyderabad does not become another Delhi soon. This is where the Opposition parties, social organisations and NGOs need to take up the cause and fight jointly. Is anyone listening?

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