Air pollution is on the rise in the Indian city of Kolkata.
Rapid modernisation and an unchecked number of vehicles are making Kolkata one of the most polluted cities in India.
India’s eastern city of Kolkata is a busy metropolis with a population of four million.
In downtown Kolkata, the air quality is very poor – the smog causes eyes to water and triggers respiratory illnesses.
The 1.2 million vehicles that ply the roads contribute the most to the city’s air pollution.
Residents like Mira Karmakar have no choice but to live with the worsening air quality.
Ms Karmakar said: “My whole respiratory system feels a burning sensation. When I breathe, the smoke in the air goes inside through my nose, chokes me and enters my lungs and I feel a strong burning sensation in my lungs. Vehicles emit black smoke and run past.”
Commercial vehicles older than 15 years have been banned since 2008, yet they somehow manage to find their way onto the roads.
There is also a mandatory Pollution-Under-Control certification required for all vehicles, but only 24 per cent of them have undergone the test and secured the certificate.
‘No clean chit if no green chit’ is what the rule says, but most vehicle owners just ignore the law.
To make things worse, the pollution parameters in Kolkata are 20 per cent to 50 per cent higher than safe limits in many parts of the country.