Media Workshop on Bengaluru’s Air Quality Crisis

Dear reader, our work is empowering citizens: in-depth stories, research and open data that catalyse better cities. This is rigorous, painstaking and time consuming work, that is made possible by your donation.
Please become a Sustaining Member today. A regular annual contribution from you will ensure this work continues. Rs 4800 / Rs 12000 / Rs 24000 / any amountDonate NOW
Garbage being burnt on the footpath along the Inner ring Road

Co Media Lab, in partnership with Climate Trends,  invites you to a Media Workshop on

Bengaluru’s Air Quality Crisis: How can the media make a difference?

21 Feb 2018 (Wednesday), 9.30 am to 3.00 pm
St. Marks Hotel, St. Marks Road, Bengaluru

Click here  to register

A lung test on 503 Bengaluru school children in 2015 found that only 11% of them had lungs in ‘excellent’ condition; 36% students failed the test. Asthma prevalence among Bengaluru’s children has tripled in the last 35 years. “In the last 20 years, the number of children needing hospital admissions for asthma has increased from 4% to 11%,” says paediatric pulmonologist Dr Paramesh.  Not just asthma, doctors talk of rise in other respiratory illnesses, cardiac ailments and cancers.  

All this thanks to Bengaluru’s increasing levels of air pollution.

In a city where growth is unplanned, chaotic and hurtling at high speed, Bengaluru’s air quality is an inevitable loser. This trajectory could soon reflect that of New Delhi, now globally known as the smog chamber, and other tier one and tier two cities in northern India, which have consistently breached the safe air quality standards in the last few years.

While Bengaluru’s levels may have not hit the high peaks that mark Delhi, it is critical to act before we reach there. Here are the different aspects of Bengaluru’s air quality problems —

  • Poor Solid Waste Management logistics results in garbage burning that results in dioxins in the air.
  • Public transportation hasn’t met the needs of our 11+ million population. Vehicular population is crossing 4.5 million, and contributes 60-70 percent of pollution load to the environment. More than 900 new private vehicles are added to Bengaluru roads each day, spewing smoke and toxic gases.
  • Metro construction, poor quality of roads and constant real estate development has meant high levels of dust—Bengaluru’s air has recorded alarming levels of particulate matter at many points across the city. Peak levels of PM 2.5 at some stations show more than 300 – which is five times the Indian safety limits.

However there is no formal action plan in place. Neither the state pollution control board or BBMP, the local government have stepped up to fix the problem so far, even as Mayor Sampath Raj has signed an MoU with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group to work on climate change and air quality monitoring. The plan includes installing 1000 air quality sensors. The city currently has just 5 automatic and 8 manual stations – way below the recommended 41.

The silver lining is Bengaluru’s citizens – a significant number of whom are acting to make a difference.

They are working within their communities to raise awareness and fix some of the problems and point sources that result in poor air quality. Like the child who stopped his family from buying an Innova, neighbourhoods converting into walking and cycling zones and the people who have prevented garbage burning with better waste management in their neighbourhood.

What is the media’s role?

How can we keep the spotlight on the worsening air quality levels, fix accountability, inform citizens on health effects, highlight solutions and help make it a better city?

For more info, write to team@comedialab.in.