Air attack in Kandy
Pollution chokes hill capital
The air pollution levels in Kandy are three times higher than in Colombo, and this is leading to an increase in the number of persons suffering from respiratory diseases, according to experts.
Prof. Ruwan Wijayamuni of Clean Air institution said that according to World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations, the rate of minute particles in the air should be 50 micro grams per metre. In the Colombo city area this measurement stands at 100 while in the Kandy town, it was threefold and was around 300 micro grams per metre.
This disturbing trend was revealed by Prof. Wijayamuni when he addressed a seminar organised jointly by the KMC, the Central Environmental Authority and Air Resources Management Centre. He said Kandy was going from bad to worse in air pollution and this was affecting its reputation as a tourist attraction. He said many websites on Kandy said it was a beautiful town but that air pollution levels have increased and living there was becoming hazardous.
Kandy Chest Clinic specialist Anoma Siribaddana said there was an increase in the number of heart patients and patients with respiratory diseases due to air pollution in the town and this was affecting both young and old.
Motor Traffic Department Assistant Commissioner A.W. Dissanayake said action could be initiated against errant owners of belching vehicles and added that 80 percent of dual purpose vehicles tested by the police failed the pollution test. Among them were many buses and lorries.Air quality in many towns in Sri Lanka has deteriorated in recent years mainly due to excessive urbanisation and the increase in motor vehicles.
Although regular monitoring of air quality was important, due to the high costs involved, this had not been done extensively.
As Kandy town was situated in a valley, experts believe that it had a higher degree of pollution owing to its location.
Among the others who attended the seminar were Peradeniya campus Engineering faculty lecturer Ms. Madhavi Anushka Ilangasinghe, Met. Department Director K.R.Abeysinghe, CEA Chairman Karunasena Hettiarachchi and Dr. Anura Vidanagamage.