Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Pollution board needs powers to take action
H C Sharathchandra believes effective implementation is the key to reduce pollution

We have allowed Bangalore to grow beyond its limit, thereby resulting in gross violation of the Town and Country Planning Act. Developing agencies have to plan for the growth of the city in its entirety, while planning resources should reach new extensions. The various implementing agencies are to be held responsible for not dispensing their duties properly. There has been no introspection in the past 20 years.
Despite KSPCB directing the Bangalore Development Authority to incorporate specifications, including aspects like buffer zones, it hasn’t. Residential houses and colonies are very close to industrial areas, which shouldn’t be the case.
It’s a known fact that Bangalore’s roads are narrow, but the traffic department has done little to effectively implement laning systems that will improve
fuel efficiency. Public transport should be promoted aggressively, but on the other hand, the number of government vehicles should be brought down substantially. It’s time IT companies provided buses to ferry their employees, discouraging the use of private vehicles. The traffic department has ironically not checked noise pollution, which goes hand-in-hand with checking vehicular pollution.
Sanitation is not only the biggest problem, but it’s the gravest issue that needs to be addressed immediately. Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has to pull up its socks and start setting up more sewage treatment plants (STPs) apart from tertiary treatment plants, across the city. Only 60% of the city’s areas have STPs, but even these hardly serve the purpose, for most of the sewage is let into lakes after being partially treated. Corrective action should be taken at the upper catchment areas. Also, most STPs need to be replaced as they are very old, while treated waste water can be used for construction purposes and BWSSB can use this as a selling point. Privatization of lakes should not be taken into consideration at all.
Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has to take up waste disposal on a war footing. It is pertinent to identify more number of landfills, as waste needs to be disposed of in a decentralized fashion. The Palike should also focus on segregating waste, while apartment builders must agree to a sale condition whereby they have to turn waste into compost. The issue needs to be tackled at the source.
KSPCB has been pressing for magisterial powers; lack of empowerment to take immediate action has posed a major problem. KSPCB’s action is mostly restricted to issuing notices alone.
Most importantly, the lack of civic sense among citizens is not helping matters. Indians have an attitude problem which needs to be overcome. Awareness and education have become the need of the hour. Everyone talks about constraints, but very few take the initiative to step forward and contribute.
(H C Sharathchandra is chairman, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board) FEEDBACK
Follow lane discipline
If heavy vehicles in Bangalore take the left lane and allow small vehicles to use the right lane, the traffic situation will be much better. Do not allow buses to overtake, else the right lane will be choked and this is the main reason for traffic jams. This has been implemented in New Delhi and it works well. Hope this helps. | Ashish Nair, via e-mail
Impose heavy penalty
There is a visible change in the traffic pattern in Hebbal’s outer ring road after road lanes were demarcated. Hefty penalty should be imposed on those who don’t follow lane discipline. Put notice boards detailing penalty amount of at least Rs 1,000 on the median in three languages so that outstation trucks and other vehicles maintain road discipline. Now, even a cyclist or an auto driver can hold up traffic at their will. Also, fine BMTC drivers who don’t bother to stop close to the kerb. | Reji John, Nagawara EXPERTSPEAK

There needs to be a monitoring agency which maintains a reporting system by all implementing agencies. The city’s problems need to be managed in a sustainable fashion, where the individual roles are well defined. The sanitation scenario in Bangalore was pathetic four years ago. BWSSB has, however, started addressing this aspect and the situation is not so grim today. There is an urgency to plan for the next 20 years, but unfortunately all mechanisms are being tried and tested for today. There needs to be a forum where there is provision for intensive dialogue with users as well.

Fuel adulteration should be stopped, while all vehicles should be checked and monitored regularly for vehicular pollution. The thrust should be on laning system, for it will improve fuel efficiency. There has been much talk about car pooling, but this too has not been put into effect. Diesel and luxury cars and vehicles need to be taxed heavily, which will help earn more revenue. Ground water can be recharged easily, and all that the BBMP has to do is make provision to channelise and collect run-off water at the end of each road. BWSSB can also subsidise water bills, wherever rain water harvesting has been implemented effectively. The onus for disposal of waste is on the BBMP alone. This needs to be shifted to the manufacturer also through the Extended Product Responsibility (EPR) module, where manufacturers will be held responsible for managing waste.


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