Air, water quality of yesteryear’s Garden City as bad as Delhi’s: Experts

Bengaluru: Bengaluru, once known as the ‘Garden City of India’, is presently going through the worst ecological crisis.

Following the tag of the fastest growing city in Asia for quite some time and the bustling industrial activity in and around, fears are being raised that the Karnataka state capital is heading towards an ecological disaster.

Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar has announced that the buffer zone along Kumudavathi and Arkavathi rivers in Bengaluru will be reduced.

Concerns have been raised and protests staged against the move, while environmentalists maintain that this would hinder the rejuvenation efforts.

The buffer zone extends 1 km on either side of the river.

With Bengaluru witnessing rapid construction activity, mining, increase in volume of vehicles, the air quality is alarmingly deteriorating.

Noted environmentalist, author and former IFS Officer, A.N. Yallappa Reddy told IANS that in Bengaluru, the situation is no way inferior to New Delhi.

Although the air quality levels are differen,t it is in no way different that New Delhi in any count. The 2.5 micron and 10 micron particulate matter are circulating but there is no system to monitor and it is not coming out.

“The major pollution is coming from construction and polluting industries. These industries are not caring for any law and there is no enforcement of the law,” he observes. In Delhi there is an alarming situation. People are going to die from all kinds of diseases including heart problem, diabetes. The pollutants once they enter into the brain and heart may cause all kinds of chronic diseases,” he explains.

Suresh Heblikar, noted filmmaker, actor and environment activist, told IANS that water is completely destroyed in Bengaluru and the air is deteriorating rapidly.

“There is no doubt that the city is on the path of destruction and I have written extensively about it in major media long back,” he stated.

“In our country, the mega cities are no longer alive and they are all collapsed ecologically. People are living just like that and it has become a major problem. South End circle, Silk Board Junction and Whitefield area in Bengaluru are experiencing the worst air quality levels and crossed the danger mark.

“In big cities like Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Ahmadabad, Kolkata, there is too much air pollution. Madhya Pradesh is much better. In cities like Indore, Bhopal there are no large number of vehicles.

“You should study economic development. Development is only for some people. When you talk about pollution, don’t talk only about pollution. Talk about the economic growth which the country is trying to take up. This economic growth is producing huge pollution,” Heblikar opined.

He went on to say that “here, the water is so polluted. I hear from my friends who have been working on water for two to three decades. We discuss how water is highly contaminated, how heavy metal is gone into the sewage and how sewage is mixing with drinking water”.

“People don’t know from where they are getting water, how good the air they are breathing is. Their health is declining every day, it is not like earlier how it was for us.

“If you want prosperity, you have to live with a lot of dust and dirt, contaminated air and water. So, if you are chasing technology which brings money, this will take you to the ultimate dead end,” he added.

Aditya S Chowti, Senior consultant, Internal Medicine, Fortis Cunningham, Bengaluru explains that, nowadays, there is an extensive level of pollution engulfing cities, especially in the Karnataka state capital.

This pollution has led to a significant increase in diseases.

Nasiruddin G – Consultant, Internal medicine, Fortis Hospital, Cunningham Road in Bengaluru, said that air pollution is currently one of the serious concerns in the city.

“Since the respiratory system is the primary point of entry for air pollutants, there are numerous respiratory illnesses prevalent in Bangalore. People are presenting with many cases of allergic bronchitis, allergic rhinitis, and cough that does not respond to conventional treatments for 3 to 4 weeks. Additionally, individuals who were asthmatic or had respiratory issues like emphysema and COPD are falling sick more frequently, experiencing acute exacerbations,” Dr Nasiruddin explained.

Dr Vasunethra Kasaragod, Consultant – Pulmonology, Manipal Hospital Millers Road, stated that the air pollution has been a mounting problem since the turn of this century.

“It’s the cost we pay for rapid urbanization. Poor air quality has direct effects on the respiratory tree. Patients tend to have symptoms of chronic cough with whitish sputum, chest tightness and wheezing. They are prone to repeated chest infections like pneumonia and viral bronchitis.

“These infections weaken the lungs further. It affects all ages but pediatric and geriatric populations suffer the most. This leads to not only mortality but very high morbidity and poor quality of life among people,” Kasaragod added.


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