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Air Pollution: Kolkata Has Least Overall Emission Levels Among Mega Cities, Says A Report

Among the 14 cities that were studied by Centre for Science and Environment for their vehicle emissions, Delhi fared the worst due to highest vehicle stock, large population and long trip distances

Air Pollution: Kolkata fared better than Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad in terms of vehicle emission levels

Kolkata: Kolkata has the least overall emission levels and energy used from urban commute among the six megacities in the country though it generates the third highest number of trips by vehicles due to its large population, according to a Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) report released here today.

Its position on the two counts is better than the other five megacities – Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Mumbai as well as the metropolitan cities like Pune and Ahmedabad, the report ‘The Urban Commute and How it contributes to Pollution and Energy Consumption’ said.

Delhi fared the worst in terms of overall toxic emissions, heat-trapping emission and energy consumption despite having better parametres than most other mega cities due to highest vehicle stock among the six megacities, large population and long trip distances.

This negates per trip emissions improvement derived from its CNG programme and limited public transport strategy.

Also Read: Indians Lose Over 1.5 Years Of Their Lives To Air Pollution, Says Study

The Centre for Science and Environment report said Bhopal has edge over all the 14 cities in the country, including the megacities, in terms of overall emission and energy use.

It has an advantage in terms of lower population, lesser number of vehicles and vehicle miles travelled compared to the megacities. Even though its personal transport use is higher, its average trip length of different modes is second lowest among all the cities, the report released by CSE, a leading research organisation promoting environmentally sound and equitable development strategies, said.

CSE Executive Director Anumita Roy Chowdhury said on the sidelines of the programme, said,

Even though Kolkata generates the third highest volume of trips due to its large population, it still has the lowest average trip length for a vehicle because of its compact urban form.

Also, Kolkata has the lowest vehicle stock among the six megacities and second highest share of public transport, which is in sharp contrast to cities like Delhi where there is higher automobile dependency.

Ms Roy Chowdhury said, “Our research has found about 60 per cent of all travel trips in Kolkata are within three-to four km radius and this is exactly the model the Japanese cities and Hong Kong have followed

“It helps in reducing overall emission and guzzling of fuel,” she said.

Also Read: Delhi Air Pollution Not Improved As Stubble Burning Continues, Says Parliamentary Panel

Referring to the high dependence on public transport system in the city, she said Kolkata has the most diverse public transport system for urban commuting – buses, some of which have been upgraded to electric buses, metro, trams, suburban rails, autorickshaws along certain routes and waterways, she said.

Kolkata and Mumbai’s per-trip emissions are the lowest among all cities. “This indicates a high modal share of public transport and non-motorised transport with low trip lengths which is helping these cities to mitigate their overall emission,” she said.

Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai score poor. They have lower share of public transport compared to Delhi and yet have scored better only because their total travel volumes are comparatively lower given their population levels, the report said.

Among the 14 cities, Vijaywada, Chandigarh, Kochi, Lucknow and Jaipur have performed better than the six megacities because of their smaller population and lower number of vehicles, it added.

Asked about the reason behind public release of the report, Ms Roy Chowdhury said, “The purpose is to engage all stakeholders, including members of public, for constructive solution to certain issues.”

IIT Kharagpur professor in civil engineering department, Bhargab Maitra said despite problems public transport system is changing in a high-density city like Kolkata with real time tracking of government bus routes through mobile app and the coming up of new metro routes.

Also Read: Free India From Air Pollution: Five Organisations That Are Working To Increase India’s Green Cover

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