Indore may have earned the prestigious tag of being the cleanest city India, but its air quality is worsening due to rapid development in the transport, construction and industrial sectors, said experts on Wednesday stressing the need for intensifying efforts to control the situation.
As per the data shared by the Central Pollution Control Board, the air quality of Indore on Wednesday was “moderate”, which can cause breathing discomfort to people with lungs, asthma and heart diseases. Indore has been selected by Clean Air Catalyst, a global alliance working to improve air quality, apart from Jakarta (Indonesia) and Nairobi (Kenya) for one of its projects.
As part of the project, three air pollution monitoring stations have been set up in Indore to record data on pollutants like fine particulate matter or PM2.5, carbon monoxide and black carbon, an official of the Clean Air Catalyst said. “Indore is not among the most polluted cities in the world, but it is not even one of the cleanest cities in the world in terms of air quality,” Hisham Mundol, chief advisor in India for the Environmental Defense Fund associated with the Clean Air Catalyst, told PTI.
He said that the air quality in Indore is being affected due to the rapid activities taking place in the transport, construction and industrial sectors. Mundol said that under the 'Clean Air Catalyst' project, the data on air pollution in the city will be studied for the next two years and after that appropriate solutions will be provided to the local administration.
According to Dr Dilip Vaghela, an environmental expert associated with the Clean Air Catalyst and a former officer of the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board, the challenges of air pollution in Indore are increasing continuously. “In Indore, the amount of pollutants like PM10 and PM 2.5 increases a lot, especially during the winter season and lack of wind,” he said.
Vaghela said that most of the roads in densely populated Indore, the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh, are not very wide, while the density of vehicles on them is very high. “The population of the city is between 38 to 40 lakh, while the number of vehicles is estimated to be between 18 to 20 lakh, which means, there is a vehicle for every two people in the city. This ratio is probably the highest in the whole country,” he said.
“Efforts need to be intensified to improve the air quality to prevent the situation in the city from deteriorating,” he said. Indore Mayor Pushyamitra Bhargava said the traffic and air quality problems in the city were like a “spot on the beautiful moon”. “We have taken up the task of solving both these problems in a major way with the help of the Clean Air Catalyst,” he added.