What’s riding with you on Ahmedabad’s electric buses? Poor air quality – ET Auto

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Particulate matter, a form of indoor air pollution, inside public electric and diesel buses especially during peak hours are a growing concern, says a recent study.

You hop on an air-conditioned bus, thinking you’re doing your bit for the environment and that you will be shielded from the dust and smoke outside. However, along with other passengers on the vehicle there is an unseen, risky presence. Particulate matter, a form of indoor air pollution, inside public electric and diesel buses especially during peak hours are a growing concern, says a recent study.

The research by IIPHGandhinagar and Cept University measured the level of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 microns (PM2.5), PM10 and carbon dioxide (CO2) inside BRTS vehicles on three routes — Naroda Gam to Iskcon Crossroads (Route 1), Hanspura Ring Road to Vasna Terminus (Route 2) and RTO circular route (Route 3). The findings are worrisome. A higher concentration of PM2.5 and PM10 was found inside electric buses compared to diesel buses, especially during evening rush hour.

“The concentration of PM2.5 and PM10 increased gradually from morning to evening inside electric buses on all the routes,” says the study by Maumita Jana and Dipsha Shaha from the faculty of technology at Cept Uni versity and Veena Iyer at IIPH-Gandhinagar Both PM2.5 and PM10 levels remained at par with national air quality standards in diesel buses throughout the day. National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) suggest that PM2.5 levels should be 40 micrograms per cubic metre while PM10 levels should be 60mg per cubic metre.

Several factors contributed to this difference. Electric buses on Route 1 had minimal waiting periods between trips (five-10 minutes). This limited air exchange and ventilation. On Route 3, because electric buses had longer waiting time (roughly 20 minutess), their closed doors may have trapped the pollutants in, says the study. Also, diesel buses had ample waiting periods and open doors, which aided in pollutant dispersal. “On both Routes 1 and 2, the diesel buses were found to have sufficient waiting time (20-40 minutes) between the trips and the buses on Route 2 were observed to have doors open during the waiting period,” states the research paper.

  • Published On Feb 19, 2024 at 03:38 PM IST

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