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Jalandhar

Posted at: Apr 17, 2018, 1:55 AM; last updated: Apr 17, 2018, 1:55 AM (IST)

Air quality a concern as city reels under pollution

Authorities take on air pollution

  • An AQI range between 0 and 50 is rated as "Excellent" while it is termed as "good" if it is between 50 and 100, the pollution level from 101-150 is 'Moderate' and beyond that it usually represents a "poor" picture.
  • Meanwhile, the AQI of the district for the month of February, March and April has been recorded to be falling between 100-150 points, as per AQI calendar present on Centre Pollution Control Board (CPCB) App "Sameer".
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Air quality a concern as city reels under pollution
The increased level of smog is contaminating the air quality, leading to many respiratory diseases among the residents in Jalandhar. Photo: Sarabjit Singh

Avneet Kaur

Jalandhar, April 16

Air pollution is a great menace not only for the city but for the whole planet. It is becoming a cause of concern for the whole ecosystem.

This triggers various repiratory diseases like asthma, worsen previously existing respiratory diseases such as lung cancer and many more ailments. In February when Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Station (CAAQMS) was inaugurated in the city, the average air quality index (AQI) was recorded at 254 making it the most polluted city in state.

However, an AQI range between 0 and 50 is rated as “Excellent” while it is term as “good” if it is between 50 and 100, the pollution level from 101-150 is ‘Moderate’ and beyond that it is usually represents a “poor” picture. Meanwhile, the AQI of the district for the month of February, March and April has been recorded to be falling between 100-150 points, as per AQI calendar present on Center Pollution Control Board (CPCB) App – “Sameer”.

The major causes of air pollution here is motor vehicle emissions, stubble burning in fields and illegal industrial activities, which have adverse effects on health of the population, especially children. The other two major reasons behind rise of air pollution are lack of monitoring and reaction of the local and state bodies.

What authorities are up to?

When quizzed, Chairman, Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), K S Pannu of the measures being taken by the government and authorities to control air pollution in city, he said, “The appropriate measures are being taken in order to maintain the AQI in the district. The air quality level has remained between 100 to 125 in last three months as we have been monitoring it on daily basis on the CAAQMS.”

We have strategic plans to improve air quality. The furnaces (Bhatti’s) being run in the district are currently running on 750 microgram per cubic meter which will be now reduced to 250 microgram per cubic meter.

New parameters have been set in this regard, which will be mandatory from 2019, notice has been issued to all furnaces that after June 30 this year no furnaces would be functional and in October, November and December, it will be strictly banned as air pollution rises the most during these months, he informed.

Authorities have also said measures were being taken to solve the issue, even government had initiated strict action against those involved in stubble burning. But more important is to make the farmers aware and provide alternative techniques. We had been guiding farmers of modern and scientific methods, while many have shifted towards using those but still many farmers are into burning crop residue.

Factories and industries in residential areas

Businessman Rajan Gupta, member of residents welfare society said, “Rubber factory and IOC bottling plant of Indian oil situated near Guru Gobind Singh Avenue, Surya Enclave has become a major problem for residents as the smoke released from these are harmful to residents’ health. He said, despite repeated attempts and visits to PPCB no action has been taken so far.”

Monitoring old equipments, checking air quality and the effects of gases produce by factories to environment, promotion of cleaner goods production, taxing polluting vehicles as well machines and giving incentives on purchase of hybrid and electric automobiles are a few measures needed to be adopted by local body. Ban on burning of leaves, biomass and municipal solid waste can too improve the air quality, he added.

A heart patient, retired bank official Narinder Kumar said, “Vehicular pollution and garbage burning are contributing in deteriorating health. I can not tolerate much smoke as I start feeling uneasy. Whenever vehicles omitting smoke pass by me, I experience problem in breathing. Authorities concerned should take strict action and work towards solving residents woes.”

“At domestic level we should segregate garbage. Untreated waste should not be dumped into land-fills, which can omit methane and other toxic gases. Car pooling and use of public transport at least twice or thrice a week must be mandatory. Strict action should be taken against industrialists, who pollute the environment. Industrialists should invest more on equipment to treat air pollution,” said Gursimran Kaur of GND College.

Be the change you

want to see

Stringent checks on the emission of pollutants (into atmosphere) from industrial units, vehicular emissions and garbage burning are a must. Meetings, plans and projects that provide for the prevention, control and abatement of air pollution are needed. Strict laws for those who violate the law are a must but equally important is the effort of each individual and city resident.

Only conscious residents can help combat the problem of air pollution in the city after all one can live without food but can’t do without air.

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