Lucknow has been on the top of the list of five most polluted cities in India on all days in the last fortnight. The city has seen its air quality index go up to well over 400 on many occasions, which means the air in the city is severely polluted.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday met top officials to discuss ways to curb pollution not only in Lucknow but other cities like Ghaziabad, Kanpur and Moradabad.
"The chief minister has given strict instructions to municipal corporations to tackle pollution. We are sprinkling water on roads to lessen the amount of dust. We have asked all corporations to stop the burning of garbage. We are ensuring that there are no traffic jams in the city. We are also acting tough against polluting vehicles," said Awanish Awasthi, a senior government official, and added that they are exploring the possibility of cloud seeding, which is a form of weather modification.
IIT Kanpur has studied ways of changing the amount or type of precipitation that falls from clouds, by dispersing substances into the air that serve as cloud condensation or ice nuclei, which alter the microphysical processes within the cloud.
However, the citizens call these measures temporary and demand long-term solutions to combat pollution.
Data sourced by NDTV from the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research in Lucknow indicates that vehicular emission is the single biggest reason for the jump in pollution in the city where number of registered vehicles doubled in the last 10 years. However, the city's public transport system is in shambles.
The number of registered vehicles in Lucknow, 19,78,000 as on March 31, 2017, saw an increase of about six percent from the corresponding figures last year. However, the number of cars between 2007 and 2017 in Lucknow tripled from about 1 lakh to 3 lakh.
Lucknow, the capital of the most populous state in India, has just 107 state transport buses plying along 15 routes. In some cases, the waiting time for these buses is as long as 2-3 hours.
Whereas the Delhi Transport Corporation runs about 5,500 of its own along with cluster buses.
The total number of buses in the city saw a dip of four per cent in the last year. Even as the population grew in the city, the total number of buses in Lucknow has remained almost the same in the last 10 years.
While the number of taxis has gone down by 16 per cent in the last year, there has been a rise in the number of autorickshaws and other smaller vehicles.
The consumption of high speed diesel in Lucknow has gone up by as much as 26 per cent last year while petrol consumption went up by 11 per cent. However, the consumption of CNG, a relatively cleaner fuel, rose by only six percent for the same period.
The first phase of Lucknow Metro is partly operational as the construction is yet to be completed. The second phase of the Metro is in the proposal stage. Traffic along the under construction Metro corridor is badly affected. Other construction projects including a stadium, residential complexes, high rises along the periphery have added to the city's concerns.