Transport and Ambience Air Quality in Metro Cities of India

Mary Tahir, Tahir Hussain, Ayele Behaylu


Increasing Vehicular population and deteriorating quality of air is the by-product of rapid growth of population and haphazard urbanization in India. The urban population in India has increased significantly from 62 million in 1951 to 285 million in 2001 and is estimated to grow to 540 million by the year 2021. In terms of percentage of total population, the urban population has gone up from 17% in 1951 to 29% in 2001 and is expected to increase up to around 37% by the year 2021. About 55 million vehicles were playing on Indian roads in 2001. The annual growth rate of motor vehicle population in India has been about 10% during the decade (1991-2001), It is seen that two wheelers are growing faster than cars. The basic problem is not the number of vehicles in the country but their concentration in a few selected cities, particularly in metropolitan cities. It is alarming to note that 32 percent of all vehicles are plying in metropolitan cities alone; these cities constitute about 11 percent of country’s total urban population. During the year 2000, more than 6.3 million vehicles were plying in mega cities, which constitute more than 13 percent of all motor vehicles in the country. Mumbai is carrying the highest vehicles compared with other mega cities. Cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Nagpur, Pune show a vehicle growth higher than the mega cities like Delhi, Kolkata etc., presently. 

Undoubtedly on one hand transport sector plays a significant role in the overall development of a nation's economy, but on the other this sector accounts for a substantial and growing proportion of air pollution also. The urban expansion, industrialization, lack of services, energy and transport demands are leading to a vicious cycle of pollution.

The main aim of this paper is to analyze air pollution caused by increasing number of vehicles and its effect on the environment at present and in future by projecting the number of vehicles and emission load. It also deals with the planning measures that should be adopted in India to solve the problem of increasing vehicular pollution.

Keywords: Transportation, Environment, Pollutants, Emission, Development

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