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Kandy tops list in air pollution

The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) has said that an official scientific clarification will be given before the forthcoming New Year to claims that Kandy is Sri Lanka's worst city in terms of air pollution.

Acting Deputy Director General, Environmental Pollution Control of CEA, Dr. Sanjaya Ratnayaka expressed these views when we inquired about the problem.

Retired Emeritus Professor, Science Faculty of Peradeniya University O. E. Illeperuma revealed that the people who live in Kandy City should wear masks because the air pollution in the city was four or five fold more when compared to Colombo City.

According to the data of the Road Development Authority (RDA) in 2015, about 417,000 vehicles enter and exit into Kandy on a daily basis.

However, Dr. Ratnayaka expressed a different view. "We have not reported such a thing. But it is good that the professor has highlighted the matter. For the moment, we cannot comment on Prof. Illeperuma's report. The reason is we are yet to conduct a study on the matter."

However, he pointed out that the CEA was the official authority of monitoring air pollution and they would take necessary measures within the next two weeks.

"We are having test runs on a Mobile Air Quality Monitoring Station in the CEA premises at this moment. We will check the accuracy of the station first. Then we can create a clear picture. After that we will move to monitor the air pollution level of Kandy City," Dr. Ratnayaka said.

Prof. Illeperuma warned that the people who live and travel in cities could be affected by respiratory diseases and carcinogens.

Against this backdrop Dr. Ratnayake said that the CEA had already received the equipment to carry out the tests on air pollution.

He added that the air pollution tests in Kandy City will begin with the schools.

Meanwhile Chairman of the Urban Development Authority (UDA) Dr. Jagath Munasinghe said that the Kandy City Development Plan had been updated under the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) fund to include solutions for the problem of air pollution.

He highlighted that both Prof. Illeperuma's study and the Transport Study conducted by Prof. Amal Kumarage of the Moratuwa University conducted in 2010, would be considered in developing the Kandy City Development Plan.

He further pointed out that substandard constructions, water supply and traffic congestion would be among the other factors considered when developing the plan.