As the overloaded vehicle groaned and moaned up the steep road, it belched out yet another blast of black fumes. The hapless guy on the scooter just behind almost lost his balance as he had a coughing fit, and cursed once more. Though ironically, he was oblivious to the similarly darkly tinged smoke spewing out of his own ancient scooter as he revved it up. Not a very uncommon sight especially in Vizag. Be it the slow-moving vehicles or the stalled ones at junctions and signals, vehicular pollution is a very tangible issue in Vizag.
As Vizag has grown in stature and importance in the last decade, the number of vehicles on the road and consequently vehicular pollution has grown at an alarming rate. New and old, a plethora of vehicles jostle for space on the city roads. Unfortunately, not all vehicles are kept in mint condition; old badly maintained models, 2-stroke engines, adulterated fuels, congested traffic, and even poor road condition add to the air pollution from vehicles. The main pollutants emitted from the automobiles are hydrocarbons, lead, benzene, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter. Poor air quality increases respiratory ailments like asthma and
Nation-wide media talks about the pollution levels in Delhi. But do we have to wait till our city
What do the citizens say?
We see many old vehicles emit concerning amounts of smoke. In this regard, there are two things that need to be made mandatory. Firstly, genuine checks should be organised regularly by the authorities to penalise and dispose of such vehicles. Secondly, the pollution-check details should be made visible by all large vehicles, and a facility should be provided, wherein, the public can report any case of a violation to the concerned authorities. Moreover, we should also start looking at vehicles that use alternative sources of fuels.
One of the major causes for the rise in pollution in the city is the dense smoke emitted from old vehicles. To deal with this issue, the government must crack its whip against the usage of such vehicles. Regular pollution checks must be organised in a stringent manner and vehicles older than 15 years must be deregistered. However, these measures would be of little effect if the citizens aren’t conscious of their contribution in polluting the environment.
According to me, vehicular pollution in Visakhapatnam is under control compared to other B-Class cities. However, certain steps must be taken to ensure stability, including the scrapping of very old vehicles and cleaning of traffic systems so that vehicles can pass smoothly. Campaigns for plantation are a must for green awareness. Additionally, residents of the city should try to use public transport whenever possible instead of using their personal vehicles.
-Deepak Kumar Jaiswal