When I saw the Top 10 most polluted places on Listverse I kept expecting Calcutta to crop up as I scrolled down the list in reverse order. India was there on the list twice - Sukinda (Hexavalent chromium and other metals) and Vapi (Chemicals and heavy metals). Calcutta however, didn't make the list.
I wasn't too convinced. I mean, I am living here and know what it is like. Feel vindicated today (vindication ruined somewhat by coughing and gasping and a heavy choking feeling in my lungs) by a report in a daily which said that Behala Chowrasta - epicentre of 6 routes and 1500 autos plying was the most polluted crossing in Calcutta. And these are the controversial two stroke autos (major pollutants). At a height of 15 feet, the Respirable particulate matter (RPM) is 115 micrograms per cubic meter. National upper limit is 60.
Dunlop is 110, Tollygunje is 109 - all merrily adding to pollution count in Calcutta.
Applause! for being top most in something, anything and for me and a million others who survive despite it!
And what with only 8 autos banned since the ban on two stroke autos started on January 1, 2009, this means, there are 66910 still left merrily increasing the RPM. Political parties are still hemming and hawing...first ruling party imposes the ban. Opposition opposes it (at the fag end and just before the ban is to begin) and ruling party wakes up to "what will happen to rozi roti of the two stroke auto drivers" on first day of the ban! [Yet another normal democratic political excercise in West Bengal...more or less follows the same pattern only issues vary, opposer and proposer vary].
And Listverse...Calcutta might be making your list soon...hope I live to see it (as I cross Behala Chowrasta everyday and RPM is responsible for irreversible lung damage)!