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In response to growing concerns about air pollution in various cities across the country, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is proactively addressing the issue by closely monitoring the city's air quality.
Installation of Dry Mist Fountains
Despite Pune’s air quality not reaching alarming levels in comparison to other cities, the PMC has decided to install dry mist fountains at 20 major junctions experiencing heavy traffic.
Deputy Municipal Commissioner assured, “We are closely monitoring the air quality in the city. While the situation is currently under control and not alarming, we want to stay ahead of the issue. Therefore, dry mist fountains are being installed at 20 key junctions to help settle particles in the air to the ground.”
Strategic Junctions Identified
Key junctions slated for the installation of these innovative dry mist fountains include Sancheti junction, J M road junction, Yerawada junction, Alka chowk junction, Shaniwar Wada junction, and Swargate junction.
Promotion of Environmentally Friendly Vehicles
The primary sources of air pollution in Pune are vehicular emissions, dust from construction activities, and waste burning. To combat this, the PMC has been actively promoting environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient vehicles. The introduction of electric and CNG buses into the public transport system and the procurement of electric cars for officials during working hours are part of these initiatives.
Additionally, the PMC has initiated a financial assistance scheme for electric rickshaw operators and previously supported the conversion of petrol-run auto rickshaws to CNG. With the impending launch of the Pune Metro rail service and an electric vehicle-based feeder service, the PMC aims to further discourage private vehicle use, contributing to the reduction of air pollution.
Tackling Air Pollution During Festivals
PMC environment officer Mangesh Dighe emphasized the role of the dry mist fountains in tackling air pollution, especially during the Diwali festival, when the bursting of firecrackers is expected to impact air quality.
The concept of dry mist fountains was first tested during the G20 summit meetings, where they were strategically placed at select junctions using central funds. Srinivas Kandul, chief engineer in charge of the civic electrical department, noted that the pilot initiative successfully alleviated air pollution and heat during the summit.
Governmental Support and Regulations
In tandem with these efforts, the civic solid waste department is penalizing citizens found burning garbage, and the PMC has issued directives to contractors and real estate developers to minimize air pollution resulting from construction activities, including the use of jute cloth to cover construction sites.