‘Growth in number of personal vehicles needs to be checked’

ST CORRESPONDENT
Sunday, 10 March 2019

Dr Manas Ranjan Ray said, “Impact of air pollution on lungs is just the tip of the iceberg when we talk about health impact. Air pollution can cause not just respiratory diseases like lung cancer, COPD, asthma, but also type-2 diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases, depression, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases,”

PUNE: “Growth in number of personal vehicles needs to be checked, as it will have some serious implications such as worsening level of air pollution. It can prove to be a major threat to the environment and life,” said Sujit Patwardhan, trustee of NGO Parisar.

He was speaking during a panel discussion called ‘Clean Air, Healthy Cities’ organised by Clean Air Asia on Saturday.

“In a city like Pune, lakhs of personal vehicles are being added every year. Thus, if we want to tackle the problem of air pollution, it is important to have a sustainable mode of transport, which includes good public transport, cycling and walking,” Patwardhan added.

Talking about the health implication of air pollution, Dr Manas Ranjan Ray, former director, Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI), Kolkata, said, “Impact of air pollution on lungs is just the tip of the iceberg when we talk about health impact. Air pollution can cause not just respiratory diseases like lung cancer, COPD, asthma, but also type-2 diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases, depression, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases,” he said.

Mayor Mukta Tilak, who was also present, said, “Pune once was a cycle city, but sadly that has been given way to motorised vehicles. It’s time that we claim our right to a walkable, cyclable and livable city again and bring back the glory to Pune by resolving the air pollution crisis we face today.” 

She further said, “Pune will have about 3,000 buses by 2023 and none of them will run on diesel. The action has started by introducing 25 electric buses recently, with 125 more being approved.” 

Others who participated in the discussion were Dr Suvarna Tikle, Event Coordinator at Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Sanskriti Menon, Programme Director at Center for Environment Education; Dr Manas Ranjan Ray, ex-assistant director, CNCI; Prarthana Borah, Director, Clean Air Asia, India; Sunil Dahiya, a Clean Air Campaigner; and Mangesh Dighe, Environment Officer in Pune Municipal Corporation.

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