The World Environment Day is approaching soon and this years theme is Air Pollution. China is the host country this year. China has been investing heavily in renewable energy, energy efficiency and electric cars. China also suffers the impacts of air pollution to the extent of Beijing city coming to a halt several days during winter due to bad air quality. So it seems China may be the best host for this year's theme on fighting air pollution.
Last year India was the host country and the theme was to Beat Plastic Pollution, as a country we pledged to Ban Single Use Plastic completely by 2020. In Pune, there was a plastic ban movement which worked quite well for sometime, however lack of better and effective alternatives resulted in this initiative taking a back seat for now. However I feel that this initiative did create a consciousness among the Puneites about the ill effects of plastic to an extent and people have reduced using plastic items that are just Use and Throw...I really hope that we will continue this momentum.
Coming back to this year's theme, we all know a lot about air pollution and how it is affecting our health, increasing the number of deaths each year. We are also aware of the sources of air pollution in India. In case of Pune one of the major sources of air pollution has been vehicular emissions. Pune was a cycle city in past (though we are reviving it again through the Pune Cycle Plan) its the two wheeler city still to an extent and it looks like we are heading towards a four wheeler city. This means more dependence on fossil fuels, increase in traffic congestion, increase in travel time per trip and thus increase in vehicular emissions which is closely related to increase in carbon emissions and ultimately causing unsustainability.
Considering this year's theme lets explore our public transport system. Can we as citizens use the existing bus service for a week in Pune while we commute to our work and back, whenever possible. Lets take any one week in this month and try to explore the Public mode of transport i.e the PMPML buses. Lets use the Bus Week as an action to curb air pollution as an individual. Lets document the experience with our buses and also brainstorm on its improvement and workability for all of us sometime in the next month. Also lets take a selfie with the bus. I am attaching a google form with this blog. Please fill in the form in order to help us document your experience. Click Here.
Some quick observations while using a public transport would be to see if the buses are on time, well maintained or clean, there is place to sit or stand comfortably, safe from theft, stalkers etc, travel time taken, frequency of the buses, condition of the bus, ease of last mile connectivity like whats the distance of the bus stop from your work or office space etc.
As we are exploring this facility, I would suggest following pointers that will enable us to use the service effectively.
- We all use smart phones enabled with GPS, there's a feature known as OK Google in all phones. Just type in ' buses near me' in this tab and you will be able to see the nearest bus stop.
- We all use Google maps, just put your location and destination and select the bus option. You will see the bus number, all buses for those routes, scheduled time of arrival and approx time taken to reach the destination, they also give bus fare sometimes.
- You can also use the PMPML app for all information related to the buses.
- Lets be prepared to leave our homes an hour or an half early (i know its a bit too much) to reach anywhere since there is a lot of traffic congestion during peak hours.
- Lets be ready to walk or take a rickshaw from the bus stop to our destination since many a times we may not have bus stops right next to our destination.
- Lets see how much that will help in savings on transport for a week.
- Lets not compromise as well, if its not convenient to use the public transport, however still give your feedback as to why its not feasible to use the buses.
We at Samuchit, LAYA and INECC are part of a study project to make Pune a Sustainably SMART city by 2030 and part of ClimateCollectivePune (CCP) a network working towards making Pune a Carbon Neutral city by 2030. Going low carbon is the first step towards Sustainability and hence we are promoting this idea as part of this year's Environment Day.
Looking forward to more selfies with the bus. In case of any queries please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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