A survey by city-based organisations, to gauge the levels of awareness among the public on air pollution, revealed that almost half of the respondents were unaware that Pune is a non-attainment city — a city where the air quality doesn’t meet the prescribed National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
The survey was conducted by NGO Parisar and the Centre for Environment Education. In a press statement highlighting the findings, the organisations stated that while Pune was among the 102 non-attainment cities in India, the survey showed that about 50 per cent of the respondents were unaware of its status. It also revealed that nearly 70 per cent of the respondents were unaware that organs like the brain, liver and kidney were also vulnerable to air pollution, along with lungs and eyes.
The answers to questions related to the Air Quality Index of Pune showed that almost 44 per cent thought that it was ‘moderate’, while about 50 per cent said they referred to digital displays to check the air quality.
It also said the top suggestions to improve air quality included improving modes of public transport to reduce use of private vehicles, better enforcement of PUC checks, making areas greener, addressing the issue of garbage burning and encouraging more participation by the public.
The NGOs said that Pune was listed among the most polluted cities in India in 2002 in one of the studies by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control Authority), or EPCA, which was set up by the Supreme Court to address air pollution issues in the country.
Several measures had been adopted by city authorities as per the directives from EPCA, like making auto-rickshaws switch from fossil fuel to CNG, implementing an upgraded PUC system and compulsory pre-mixing of 2T oil, among others, but there was no long-term plan to address the issue holistically, said the organisations.
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