Kolkata has least vehicular emissions in 6 Indian mega-cities; Mumbai fares better on per-trip pollution level: CSE study

Kolkata: Kolkata has the least overall emission levels and energy used from urban commute among the six megacities in the country though it generates the third highest number of trips by vehicles due to its large population, according to a CSE report released on Friday.

Its position on the two counts is better than the other five megacities — Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Mumbai as well as the metropolitan cities like Pune and Ahmedabad, the report 'The Urban Commute and How it contributes to Pollution and Energy Consumption' said on Friday.

Delhi fared the worst in terms of overall toxic emissions, heat-trapping emission and energy consumption despite having better parameters than most other megacities due to highest vehicle stock among the six megacities, large population and long trip distances.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

This negates per trip emissions improvement derived from its CNG programme and limited public transport strategy.

The Centre for Science and Environment report said Bhopal has edge over all the 14 cities in the country, including the megacities, in terms of overall emission and energy use.

It has an advantage in terms of lower population, a lesser number of vehicles and vehicle miles travelled compared to the megacities. Even though its personal transport use is higher, its average trip length of different modes is second lowest among all the cities, the report released by CSE, a leading research organisation promoting environmentally sound and equitable development strategies, said.

CSE Executive Director Anumita Roy Chowdhury said on the sidelines of the programme, said "Even though Kolkata generates the third highest volume of trips due to its large population, it still has the lowest average trip length for a vehicle because of its compact urban form."

Also, Kolkata has the lowest vehicle stock among the six megacities and second highest share of public transport, which is in sharp contrast to cities like Delhi where there is higher automobile dependency.

Roy Chowdhury said, "Our research has found about 60 percent of all travel trips in Kolkata are within three to four-kilometre radius and this is exactly the model the Japanese cities and Hong Kong have followed. "It helps in reducing overall emission and guzzling of fuel," she said.

Referring to the high dependence on the public transport system in the city, she said Kolkata has the most diverse public transport system for urban commuting — buses, some of which have been upgraded to electric buses, metro, trams, suburban rails, auto-rickshaws along certain routes and waterways, she said.

Kolkata and Mumbai's per-trip emissions are the lowest among all cities. "This indicates a high modal share of public transport and non-motorised transport with low trip lengths which is helping these cities to mitigate their overall emission," she said.

Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai score poorly. They have a lower share of public transport compared to Delhi and yet have scored better only because their total travel volumes are comparatively lower given their population levels, the report said.

Among the 14 cities, Vijayawada, Chandigarh, Kochi, Lucknow and Jaipur have performed better than the six megacities because of their smaller population and lower number of vehicles, it added.

Asked about the reason behind the public release of the report, Roy Chowdhury said, "The purpose is to engage all stakeholders, including members of public, for constructive solution to certain issues."

IIT Kharagpur professor in the civil engineering department, Bhargab Maitra said despite problems public transport system is changing in a high-density city like Kolkata with real-time tracking of government bus routes through a mobile app and the coming up of new metro routes.


Updated Date: Aug 25, 2018 13:53 PM

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