A recent study by the Jammu and Kashmir State Pollution Control Board (spcb) shows that vehicular pollution has reached alarming levels in parts of the Kashmir valley.
The state government has reacted by directing petrol and diesel pump owners not to provide fuel for vehicles without pollution under control certificates. The spcb has found that vehicular emissions contribute to 80 per cent of the overall air pollution. An increase in the number of vehicles, unregulated use of old vehicles and faulty pollution-checking mechanisms have led to the deterioration of air quality.
The number of vehicles in the valley grows by five per cent annually. In 2002, the government had ordered the phasing out of minibuses that were more than 13 years old. Later, however, these obsolete vehicles were allowed to ply for one more year.
The poor air quality is likely to hit the state's economy, especially the tourism industry, just as there are hopes of revival after a decade of terrorism. "People come here to inhale fresh air. Who will come if the air quality is bad?" asks Riyaz Ahmad, a houseboat owner.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.