Air quality in Punjab on Diwali: Ludhiana the most polluted, Patiala the least

The air quality in the residential areas of cities of Punjab worsened this Diwali.

Written by Divya Goyal | Ludhiana | Updated: November 2, 2016 8:36 am
Studies have shown firecrackers have significant amounts of heavy metals like lead and cadmium and their fumes contain highly harmful oxides of sulphur, phosphorous, nitrogen and carbon. Since 2012, this number was the third highest for Ludhiana after 390 in 2012 and 316 in 2014.

Ludhiana topped the chart of most polluted cities in Punjab during Diwali last Sunday. According to the Punjab Pollution Control Board, even the least polluted city, Patiala, marked 187 microgram per cubicmeter (µg/m³) in respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM), clearing the safe limit by 87 µg/m³ in residential areas. Ludhiana, with 302 µg/m³ RSPM levels in residential areas had three times the permissible limit, the worst of all five cities where sampling was done. The permissible limit for RSPM is 100 µg/m³.

The commercial areas of Amritsar and Ludhiana recorded 302 µg/m³ and 405 µg/m³, respectively. The Board monitored residential, commercial and sensitive areas of Patiala, Mandi Gobindgarh, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar.

Residential areas

The air quality in the residential areas of cities of Punjab worsened this Diwali- Ludhiana being the worst and Patiala still comparatively less polluted. Even then in all the cities the Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) crossed permissible limits of 100 microgram/cubic meter (µg/m³) in residential areas.

The figures worsened for Ludhiana where RSPM levels almost doubled than last year from 148 to 302 µg/m³ in residential areas. Since 2012, this number was the third highest for Ludhiana after 390 in 2012 and 316 in 2014. Jalandhar witnessed minor increase in residential area numbers from 239 µg/m³ to 247 µg/m³ this year but was less than 305 and 285 in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) levels in µg/m³ as recorded on Diwali night. Permissible limit 100 µg/m³. Source: Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) levels in µg/m³ as recorded on Diwali night. Permissible limit 100 µg/m³. Source: Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB)

The iron and steel town Mandi Gobindgarh had minor increase in RSPM levels than last year but showed declining trend since 284 µg/m³ in 2012. This year it recorded 230 µg/m³ compared to 214 µg/m³ in 2015. Speaking to The Indian Express Gulshan Rai, chief engineer PPCB Ludhiana said, “There is no specific reason to point out that why Ludhiana is again at the top of the list this year. Maybe it is due to Black Diwali observed by Sikhs last year that numbers reduced to 148 in 2015. PPCB made all efforts to convince residents to celebrate Green Diwali.”

In noise pollution too, Ludhiana the worst 

Surpassing the permissible limits of 55 decibels (dB) in residential, 45dB in sensitive and 65dB in commercial areas- Ludhiana recorded the worst figures of 73.7, 73.2 and 76.2 decibels, respectively.

In residential and commercial areas this year, Patiala was the noisiest after Ludhiana with 71.1dB and 75.3dB respectively. In sensitive areas, Amritsar was the noisiest with 66 DB after Ludhiana.