THE PUNJAB Pollution Control Board (PPCB) on Friday directed deputy commissioners across the state to ensure bursting of fire crackers is not enhanced this Diwali season, in light of the “discounted” products entering the state from New Delhi. Punjab’s Air Quality Index (AQI) has already fallen into the category of ‘poor quality zone’ ahead of the festival.
The PPCB has also advised sensitising people to a “green Diwali”, by celebrating the festival with lights, sweets and mutual love rather than noise and pollution. “It is informed that AQI of Punjab nowadays is already falling in poor quality zone at 285. It is intimated that the moderate limit if air quality index is between 101 to 220 although the satisfactory limit is upto 100. Last year, on Diwali day, the peak AQI of Punjab had reached severe quality zone at 497 which has a respiratory affect even on healthy people. Enhanced level of bursting of fire crackers this year may lead to worsening of ambient air quality in the state,” reads the letter issued by PPCB Chairman, KS Pannu, to all DCs.
Punjab is already facing a challenge due to the burning of stubble in the state. Farmers have been setting their fields on fire following the harvest season. In October and November every year, nearly 19.7 million tonnes of paddy straw is burnt in the state. Punjab lines up farmers to present before NGT in ‘showcase’ village The chairman also advised commissioners to hold meetings with heads of schools to sensitise students to air pollution. Further, he asked NGOs and NCC/NSS bodies to mobilise volunteers to spread the message of celebrating a “green Diwali” this year.
Last Diwali, the Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) crossed permissible limits of 100 microgram / cubic meter (mg/cm) in residential/commercial areas over 300 times.