In Kolkata 85% vehicles flout emission norms
Only one in every six vehicles in the city get the emission tested. The rest give a damn.
Till December 2008, around 14 lakh vehicles were registered in the city.
All of these vehicles 9.5 lakh private and 4.5 lakh commercial were required to get the tailpipe emission tested twice a year.
In 1989, a nexus between transport officials, operators and police has ensured that polluting vehicles
continue to ply on Kolkata's roads unchecked and uninhibited.
Faced with a scrap order for commercial vehicles that are over 15 years old, bus and taxi operators have threatened to launch an agitation from
July 24, 2009. But none have an answer to why their vehicles have continued to flout norms and ply without proper emission tests.
Incidentally, emission test centres had upgraded to advanced multi-gas analyzers at an investment of Rs 5.5-6 lakh each in
2004-05 following a high court order on the curb pollution issue. But with most vehicles failing to report for tests and continuing
to ply on city roads unchecked, the court took up the pollution issue again, leading to the fresh scrap order that
operators are now finding unpalatable.
Asian brown cloud has robbed West Bengal of winter
Environmental experts feel a blanket of pollutants in the air, called the Asian Brown Cloud, could be
responsible for the climate change. "For the past few years we have not been experiencing winter in
West Bengal . This environmental change is caused by the
formation of the Asian Brown Cloud," environmentalist Pranabesh Sanyal, who is also a member of the World Conservation
Union said. "The cloud has been formed due to increasing automobile pollution in
the air, carbon soot (or particulate carbon) and chemicals used in the agriculture sector."
According to Sanyal, the Asian Brown Cloud is the main reason behind the apparent climate
change in India. "It's also causing delayed winter and absence of chill factor in West Bengal."
"Massive use of inorganic fertilisers and automobile byproducts lead to nitrous oxide emission in the air.
This has caused the formation of an atmospheric brownish haze layer over a vast portion of South Asia," he said.
Polluted waters of the Ganges River after the immersion of Durga idols
The Hooghly River around Kolkata
was left so polluted after the first day of immersions that millions of fish and aquatic plants have
been massacred, and anyone who went into the water faced the danger of falling severely ill due to zinc and heavy metal poisoning.
The River Pollution Control Act categorically prohibits idol immersions in the river. Kolkata Municipal Corporation
also claiming to protect the Hooghly from pollution caused by immersions. Yet, all this has come to a naught.
Samples of water collected showed that dissolved oxygen had dipped to 2.1 mg per litre while the desired level is at least 5 mg per
litre. This is dangerous level as aquatic life cannot survive in such low oxygen content in water.
The volume of solid suspended matter as well as oil and grease in water were also alarmingly high.
The content of solid suspended matter in the water like zinc, aluminium and lead can affect those who bathe in the water leave alone those who drink
it,” said S M Ghosh of EMG.
This year (2011) Kolkata civic body is planning to offer Durga puja organisers the
option of melting the idols with jets of Ganga water instead of consigning them to the river, drawing inspiration from an
environment-friendly immersion process followed by Naihati Kali pujas. In the proposed process, the melting of idols, after completion of the
religious rituals, symbolises immersion. "We want to introduce the wash-melt process, at least at Babughat, after
Durga Puja. Discussions are on with the fire services. The puja organisers will have the option of choosing
this process or going for the conventional one," said Debasish Kumar, mayoral council member
(parks and garden) in first week of August 2011
Pollution due to illegal tanneries
The stench of hides being sun-dried and the odour of tanned leather hangs in the air
by the illegal tanneries that line the nearby railway tracks. The Supreme Court had in April 2002 mandated that all tanneries must move to CLC
by October that year. Yet, some 250-odd tanneries continue to operate in the
city, according to Paresh Rajda, a leading glove exporter based in Kolkata and
the eastern regional chairman of the Council for Leather Exports, a trade body sponsored by the Union ministry of commerce and industry.
“Of the almost 500 leather goods manufacturers in Kolkata...only 112 have bought
plots in the CLC and of them only about 10-odd have started some form of
construction,” says Rajda. Kolkata’s leather goods manufacturers suffered a major setback because they were
heavily dependent on exports. “Almost 95% of India’s leather glove exports and
60% of the leather goods exports originate in and around Calcutta,” adds
Rajda. The West Bengal Pollution Control Board claims to have forcibly closed 72 leather
units over the past couple of months.
Survey report by CII
The Confederation of Indian Industry (northern region) recent
survey, which has dug deep into publicly available data, highlights several weaknesses of Kolkata in comparison with the other
cities while ranking it fifth among five metros. “The objective of the study is to prompt the authorities to do some soul-searching on how to do better in each parameter,”
said Amit Kapoor, the chairman of the Institute of Competitiveness, a CII arm. The study, based on data from sources like CMIE and
CSO, considered eight broad parameters to arrive at the best Indian city to live in.The parameters are demography, education, health, safety, housing, socio-cultural
and political environment, economic environment and planned environment.
A rank behind growth centres in other parts of the country may not come as a surprise to the victims of
inadequate civic amenities, disruptive politics, poor traffic management and rising pollution, but the survey has also challenged several myths about
Kolkata. In education, the study reveals high dropout in schools, which comes as an embarrassment for the Left
government. The city’s rank of 16th in “education level distribution” — an education sub-parameter tracking enrolment in higher studies — would deal another blow to
Kolkata’s image of being the country’s intellectual capital. The performance in health is a mixed bag, with
Kolkata ranking 24th for availability of hospital beds and doctors but
first in vaccination, life expectancy at birth and infant mortality rate.
Kolkata tops lung cancer find
Poison in the air and love for the puff have made Calcutta the lung cancer capital of India. A study has revealed that in 2007 Calcutta had
topped the metros in new lung cancer cases. The comparative study on lung cancer is part of the National Cancer
Registry Programme conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research.
In Calcutta, Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI) is one of the host institutes of the programme.
With near about five lakh cancer patients, West Bengal accounts for half of the country's total cancer cases, a senior doctor
said on February 4, 2013. "West Bengal has five lakhs cancer patients. 70,000
cases of cancer are detected every year in the state out of which 35,000
die annually due to cancer," Medical Director, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Cancer Research Institute Ashis Mukhopadhyay said.
He said lungs cancer is more prevalent among men and cervical cancer
among women. In urban areas, breast cancer is more prevalent. "Every 25
women out of 100 suffer from breast cancer," he said. He said quitting smoking and alcohol consumption and steps to control
pollution can help prevent cancer. 70,000 cases of cancer are detected every year in the state out of which
35,000 die annually due to cancer.
Kolkata to house Asia's second lab to study supernova conditions
Asia's second advanced facility for conducting experiment of Unstable &
Rare-Isotope Beams will come up at the Rajarhat campus of Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC) in Kolkata. Japan is the only other Asian
country to have this facility. The USA, France, Canada are the other three countries to have similar research facilities.
The new facility called ANURIB (Advanced National facility for Unstable
& Rare-Isotope Beams), which will come up over eights acres inside the 25-acre campus at a cost of Rs 869 crore, will conduct experiments that
will help the scientists to understand the structure of nuclei, particularly the unstable ones.
"The facility and the research will give us complete information on nuclear forces and nuclear equators of a state which controls supernova
explosions where all the elements heavier than Iron are produced. As far as the general usage is concerned, it is quite possible that it may help
in the discovery of many isotopes, which could have great applications
in the field of medicine and material science," said Dr Dinesh Srivastava, Director, VECC.
Green body in bid to encourage biofuel use
The state government has, so far, failed to check auto-emission and air pollution due to excessive use of fuels.
Instead, both auto-emission and air pollution are on the rise in the city.
A concerned West Bengal Green Energy Development Corporation Limited (WBGEDCL) is now planning to introduce special concessions for those
who use vehicles that run on biofuels and biodiesel. The move, they believe, will reduce the use of petrol and diesel and cut down on pollution.
Kolkata cycle rally promotes environment awareness
Hundreds of cyclists took to the streets
on 2009 in a cycle rally organized with an aim to promote environmental awareness.
The rally was organized by the state-run oil refinery, the Indian Oil Corporation.
"We want to spread awareness amongst the people regarding the global warming, the
environmental friendly attitude, what we need and how we can protect the environment, why should you protect the
environment, all these points we are taking through this walk and this rally,"
said Aloke Kumar Singh, Indian Oil spokesperson.
Rising sea levels threaten survival of cities like Kolkata: RK Pachauri
Rising sea levels due to climate change are threatening the survival of
big cities located near coastal areas like Kolkata, Shanghai and Dhaka,
said Dr RK Pachauri, chairperson of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC). “There is a very high risk in delta cities like Kolkata, Shanghai and
Dhaka. They are very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to
sea level rise and coastal flooding. Both people and property would be
affected in such a scenario,” said Pachauri -PTI
Science City creates 'space' for Sunita Williams
Indian-American astronaut Sunita L. Williams
spend just three hours at the Science City for a lecture and an
interactive session on April 2, 2013, but it has already prompted the authorities of the science
museum-cum-park to consider an exhibit on space science to commemorate her visit.
Kolkata to get Tagore Centre
Three scientists and professors have set up a Tagore Centre of Natural
Sciences and Philosophy in the city. The centre would enlighten students
and enthusiasts with the bard’s s passion for science.
The centre plans to set up four schools - the school of Natural
Sciences, the school of philosophy and science, the school of science
and culture and the school of international collaboration and cooperation.
Industrial zones to turn green soon
The industrial belts of Haldia, Asansol and Durgapur, identified as critically- polluted zones, may soon turn green, thanks to
the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB). Not only has the board decided to carry out tree plantation
programmes in these areas, but they have also issued a 16-point
guideline that all sponge iron units in the state must comply with. "We are stressing on a green economy," said environment minister
Sudarshan Ghosh Dastidar.
As part of the 16-point guideline, the units have been asked to use only
surface water and not groundwater. Adopting rainwater harvesting and
controlling stack pollution with the help of advanced machinery and equipment have also been issued as directives.
A 'Clean India' movement begin from Kolkata
A 'Clean India' movement begin from Kolkata Aiming to create a cleaner India, the
Garbage Free India (GFI) citizens' movement flag off its campaign from Kolkata on March 26, 2013, an organiser said.
A movement of around 80 current and former Kolkatans from diverse professional backgrounds, GFI will be aided by the Kolkata Municipal
Corporation (KMC), private companies and schools in starting cleaning
drives across the city.GFI volunteers will collaborate with students of
Chowringhee High School to begin their campaign from the city's Chowringhee Lane area.
Kolkata fights for LGBT cause
A foreign consulate in the city had organised various
programmes to highlight the human rights issues of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and
transgenders ( LGBT community) throughout the month of June.
They held a Pride Workshop on Friday to set the tone for the coming
events that includes a Kolkata Pride walk on July 7. The consulate has
hosted a series of programmes around LGBT issues. The events included
interactive sessions with students and activists and screening of Hollywood and Bollywood films
focusing on LGBT rights.