This post was originally published on this site

Pune: Civic advocacy group Parisar has urged civic authorities to invest in infrastructure for cycling, walking and affordable public transport, after the Indian Institute of Tropical Metrology’s (IITM) SAFAR programme found that vehicular pollution causes around half the PM 2.5 pollution in the city.
The report by SAFAR, which tracked the “emissions inventory” in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad for 2019-20, shows that vehicular emissions contributed to 45.6% of all PM 2.5 emissions to the city’s air, and 25.2% to the PM 10 count in the atmosphere. The PM 2.5 count was far ahead of the next biggest contributor- industries, at 24.4%- despite the heavily-industrial surroundings in the Pune region.
SAFAR’s report further added that PM 2.5 pollution increased by up to 70% in 2019-20, over a baseline of 2012-13, in Pune. Of that, transportation was once again the biggest contributor, increasing at the precipitous 91% in seven years.
Parisar, speaking about the report and its letters to the Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad civic bodies, stated that a lack of a transit-oriented development model “is pushing people towards personal vehicles, especially two- and four- wheelers”.
Parisar coordinator for air quality Sharmila Deo said, “We need to see how transportation is being looked at. There should be vast improvements in the city’s bus transport network. We should disincentise the use of private vehicles by not entirely focusing on just making more roads and more flyovers. That also means enforcing the parking policy passed by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).”
Deo added that PMPML should be strengthened and subsidised, with best practices borrowed from other cities as well, rather than depending on the fixed-route transit model like the Metro.
“Of course the Pune Metro is being built and operationalized, but how many commuters will shift to it? The PMPML network should be expanded, as it is a much cheaper option. Politicians often speak about the PMPML running on losses and it requiring subsidies. But subsidizing PMPML is a good policy to ensure good public transportation. We also could look at policies like those in Chennai, where the state government has made commuting on city buses free for women,” Deo said.