Calcutta Clunker Ban Boosts Air Quality in Just Six Days

calcutta traffic photo

Pre-ban Calcutta street scene, photo: JasperJackCooper via flickr.

It may be only a few days since Calcutta authorities banned commercial vehicles fifteen years or older from the city's streets -- and caused a commuting nightmare in the process -- but the air quality is already markedly improving, the BBC reports:They cite a survey done by Saviour and Friend of Environment which measured air quality at four of the Calcutta's most polluted intersections and found that hydrocarbon levels had been cut in half. Previous levels had been blamed for higher rates of cancer, as well as liver and kidney illness.

Particulate matter in the air -- to blame for Calcutta's unwelcome distinction of having 70% of residents with bronchial problems -- was cut in half as well.

Overall, the air quality in the city was described as returned to what it was 20 years ago.

Disgruntled Taxi Drivers Block Newer Vehicles
But not all's as green as it seems: Older auto-rickshaws are getting repainted to mimic newer LPG models, which aren't affected by the ban. What's more, out of work taxi and auto-rickshaw owners have been blockading newer vehicles from taking to the roads.

More: BBC News
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