Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chennai: Growth of Income, Increase in Pollution

Anyone who has lived in Chennai for even a few years can attest to the significant number of changes that have occurred in the city. It is no longer the sleepy fishing village present just 30 years ago. Industries such as the IT sector, automotive manufacturing, and cell phones have contributed to the rise of the middle class. Those with additional income desire to own a vehicle; public transport or bicycles are no longer satisfactory. In April 1998, there were only 975,915 vehicles. Twelve years later, that mushroomed to 2,658,083. From the months of April to September of this year, over 540,000 additional cars joined the already congested streets. 
While this means more Chennaites enjoying the freedoms of their private transport, it also brings with it an increase in pollution - both air and noise. Well over 20 years ago, vehicular emissions tests with certificates were enacted, but it hasn't been enforced. In the average emissions testing center in Chennai, only 200 vehicles undergo the test every month. Traffic police are starting to do some surprise checks, but with the fine of only 100 rupees $2.20, I doubt that such measures will bring much change.

No comments: