TOTW: Pollution in Bangalore

Pollution in Bangalore has three aspects:

  • dust,
  • exhausts, and
  • litter.

Bangalore is very dusty. The main reason for this is that many streets are not paved, so every car throws that dust in the air and carries it onto the paved roads, where it collects on the side of the roads. The air is usually very dusty, and only the rain provides a brief relief.

Also, the cars are a great contributor to pollution. In my opinion, less than 25% of the cars here would pass German TÃœV (exhaust control), and especially the many lorries blow clouds of black smoke into the air.

And finally, the litter. Here, you can find a certain differntiation between industrial and living areas. In the living areas, you often find some women sweeping the litter off the road (and into the sewers, which do not really carry it on). They use the traditional Indian broom, a bunch of twigs with a length of about a meter, and without a handle. But in the industrial areas, no such thing happens. Around roadside merchants, the plastic cups for chai (tea) and the remains of coconuts are liberally thrown on the ground. And when driving in a car or bus, the litter is siply thrown out of the window.

Domestic waste is usually collected in large heaps on the sidewalk, where the dogs and cows pick out the last (more or less) eatable remains. The heaps are collected by trucks, which are often so full that the dirt falls off again… But even though there seems to be no real working waste collection system, the usual vermin associated with it is not to be found in Bangalore. I have not seen a single rat or mouse, and the only cockroach I have spotted was in the bathroom of the Leela Palace, one of the best hotels here.

After all that is said, I have to mention that I do not think that Bangalore, at least the parts I have seen of it, is very dirty. I expected it to be worse when I came here, so I was pleasently surprised. But the air quality is very bad, and a regular trip out of town is a much needed relief from this, especially in times when rain is rare.

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