Soaring number of Pvt vehicles playing havoc with Bangalore air: CSE

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New Delhi, Sep 29 (UNI) The Centre for Science and Environment has warned that the rate at which the number of private vehicles were increasing, Bangalore would soon turn into a city with highly polluted air.

Today, more than 1000 cars were hitting the city roads daily, which was choking its atmosphere.

Bangalore is going the same way as Delhi, the CSE says in the latest edition of Down to Earth.

To contol air pollution, Delhi introduced compressed natural gas, and increased the number of buses, leading to a marked improvement in the quality of air. But now, with each passing day, the city adds just below 1,000 new private vehicles.

With each passing day, the gains of clean air in the capital are being lost. With congestion throttling the city, parking spaces are hard to find and pedestrians are unable to find space to walk or cross roads without being run over.

Now Bangalore is similarly afflicted. ''It adds more vehicles than Delhi each day-over 1,000. It has less road space than the capital and more green space. The future of the city is bleak but hopefully not inevitable. The trees will have to make way for the roads and the flyovers that will carry its vehicles. But as the road space expands, as more flyovers get built, the expanding numbers of cars will inevitably fill it up.'' says the editorial.

The argument given in the case of Bangalore was that the city was in transition, and it will soon get over all these difficulties with the creation of more infrastructure, but this was an infantile illusion, according to the CSE.

The fact is that cities in third world countries, which lack investment to upgrade technology or governance to get rid of old technology, have not been able to deal with pollution.

Take Beijing, where the organisers of the next Olympics have declared that the city's air is too unhealthy for athletes. But it is not as if Beijing has not taken steps to combat air pollution.

The city has removed every kind of vehicle-from two-stroke and four-stoke two-wheelers to the equivalent of our auto-rickshaws-all to make their city swanky clean. But the fact is, Beijing also adds over 1,000 vehicles daily to its roads, the only difference is that in its case all the vehicles are cars, unlike in India, where cars still jostle for space with two-wheelers. But it is still choked by pollution.

In Delhi, buses carry roughly 60 per cent of the people. In Bangalore, the rough estimate suggests around 30 per cent of people use its bus service. The city has only 4,000 buses on the road and after much prodding, is adding a few hundred more.

It is also building a metro rail, which will definitely help.

But by the time the metro gets operational-the earliest date is 2010-the city would have added over a million vehicles to its already congested roads.

''And if people get wealthier, or if the cars get cheaper (as our industry is desperately trying to make them) then the vehicles added will be cars, not two-wheelers. This only means that vehicles will take more road space to carry even fewer ,'' The option today, according to the CSE, is to build a viable public mass transit system that will replace the car or at least, marginalise it.

Private vehicles have not solved the problems in other metros of the world too.

The multi-lane road that rings London-its orbital-is called the country's biggest car park because cars have filled it up.

''Closer home, the multiple flyover-cum-highways that had been inaugurated between Delhi and Gurgoan with the promise of a speedy ride home had already become a nightmare as cars crawl along and people rush madly to cross the road. We forget completely that stopping traffic at red lights also allows for people to cross. We forget because we don't walk. We drive,'' the editorial said.

UNI

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