Bihar launches cycles-on-rent scheme to cut air pollution

Patna: The Bihar state government is launching a cycles-on-rent scheme to cut air pollution and encourage eco-friendly lifestyle among the youth.

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As part of the initiative, the authorities are setting up hi-tech cycle stands at 72 places in Patna. The state government has already invited tenders to carry out the project. In the first place, 30 cycle stands will come up in various locations of the state capital.

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“The promotion of cycling among the youth will not only boost their health but also significantly reduce air pollution which remains a matter of serious concern,” Patna municipal commissioner Himanshu Sharma told the media on Wednesday.

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In order to promote cycling, the commissioner added, the cycle, to be fitted with a GPS system, will be available free of cost for the first 30 minutes. However, they will be charged Rs5 for an hour and Rs30 for a full day. A unique feature of the scheme is that those renting the cycles can hand them over at any cycle stand. Bookings will be made through an app.

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Authorities said the scheme would help cut air pollution in Patna. The Bihar capital hit the headlines when it was ranked the seventh most polluted city in the world in a recent Greenpeace report. According to the 2018 World Air Quality Report jointly prepared by IQAir AirVisual and Greenpeace, the annual level of PM 2.5 – particulate matter less than 2.5 microns – in 2018 was 119.7 micrograms per cubic meters in Patna.

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The Bihar State Pollution Control Board has described vehicular emission, domestic fuel burning, open waste burning, construction activities, industrial emissions and road dust as the main causes of air pollution.

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The state government has been working hard to increase green cover by planting trees in a bid to improve the air quality. In the past two months, the state government claimed to have planted 34.7 million saplings to increase green cover in the state.

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The state government had initially planned to plant 25.1 million saplings on a single day on August 9 to mark Earth Day, but owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government had to make a change in its programme. Eventually, the state government kick-started the plantation drive in June itself.

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According to the government, 220 million saplings have been planted in the past eight years since Hariyali Mission (Green Mission) was set up in 2012.

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