CPCB’s North Zone office in-charge in Lucknow, PK Mishra, attributes Kanpur’s polluted air to a combination of factors.
Reasons for pollution:
Vehicular emission: Every month, at least 250 public transport vehicles and 7,000 private vehicles — 5,000 two-wheelers and the rest four-wheelers — are registered in the city, said Assistant Regional Transport Officer Prabhat Pandey. While all public transport vehicles registered in Kanpur run on CNG, diesel vehicles are not barred from entering the city. “We need to build a bypass for diesel-fuelled heavy vehicles that pass through Kanpur,” said Pandey.
Congested roads: Pollution levels remain high during the day as goods vehicles move around market areas of the industrial city for loading and unloading of goods. Pollution peaks between 5 and 9 pm when people travel from office to home, leading to clogged roads.
diesel generators: Power is available 14-16 hours a day during summer, and 20-22 hours in winter. Power cuts in winter, say businessmen in Naveen Market, happen during the day, so shopkeepers use diesel power generators. In unauthorised markets, which have no legal power connection, diesel power generators are rampantly used.
Burning of solid waste: Kanpur Municipal Corporation’s safai karamcharis burn waste collected from residential areas and markets within the localities instead of transporting it to primary collection points. Residents, too, burn domestic waste on roadsides. In winter, slum inhabitants and vendors burn plastics and tyres as bonfire. According to a CPCB official, such combustion releases PM10 and PM2.5 in the air.
Release of dust from damaged roads, construction sites: The city has many roads in disrepair on the outskirts. The roads get further damaged as heavy vehicles ply on them as they supply construction material to townships coming up in the city.
Way forward: District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma, who heads the district level environment committee, said that he had asked the CPCB to “give details of the factors which could be immediately controlled to reduce air pollution”. Three roads on the outskirts of the city — Hamirpur-Ghatampur, Kalyanpur-Panki and Bandhna-Bithoor — had been identified, he said, for use as by-pass for heavy vehicles coming from other districts.
Efforts are also being made, the DM said, to engage residents in pollution control. The administration has brought out newspaper ads asking people to WhatsApp photos of burning of waste to any of the six zonal officers of the Kanpur Municipal Corporation. Upon receiving the snaps, he said, “appropriate action can be taken against the erring workers”.
“The administration is working to prepare a better traffic management system. We are in talks with managements of schools located on the main roads to change their timings in order to decongest traffic during arrival and pick-up times,” said Sharma.
Assistant regional transport officer Prabhat Pandey said that “enforcement teams conduct regular checks to penalise those driving vehicles without pollution control certificates”.