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Tuesday, 13 July 2010

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Kandy air most polluted

Kandy district tops the list in air pollution in Sri Lanka. Its air is polluted three times more than the air in Colombo, Peradeniya University Chemistry Department Head Prof. O. A. Illeperuma said. Prof Illeperuma who has conducted research said people in the Kandy town continue to suffer as a result of polluted air within the city.

"The gravity of the situation was pointed out over and over again, but still the authorities have not paid attention. I believe this is a critical issue that the President should intermediate," he said.

Kandy town has a population of approximately 120,000 people and in addition over 100,000 people come to the city daily.

Its area is 26 km2, and about 1,00,000 vehicles enter the city daily leading to high traffic congestion.

The smoke released by the vehicles is the main reason for pollution. The extent of pollution is greater in the morning and evening, he said. Prof. Illeperuma suggested to adopt a special traffic program within the city to control the situation.

"Due to traffic congestion, vehicles travel at four kilometres per hour, whereas they could travel 40 kilometres per hour.

Buses racing on first gear at all bus stops for a long time has also contributed to air pollution. Sulfur Dioxide, Nitrogen Oxide, Carbon Monoxide and particles in the air are high and these continue to grow rapidly," he said.

The geography in the Kandy town has resulted in the high rate of air pollution, even though a greater number of vehicles and industries exist in Colombo. Kandy is surrounded mainly by Hantana Hunnasgiriya mountain ranges, and Bahirawa, Kurusa and Darmaraja mountains.

"Therefore the wind coming to the city goes up after striking on the mountains. Kandy town is in a low lying area and its condition is similar to a bottom of a basin. The Colombo city experiences less air pollution, since it has continuous air circulation with sea wind.

Colombo is in a flat ground and the pollutants that contaminate the air goes up without remaining in the city" he said.

"Schoolchildren in the Kandy have become victims of this situation, and as reported, breathing illnesses among them such as asthma have increased. Urgent action should be taken to control this situation without delay," Illeperuma said.

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