Plans to tackle rising air pollution fail to take off

AMRITSAR: While concerns regarding the rising air pollution have reached their peak due to stubble burning in the ongoing harvesting season, various plans readied by the administration to combat the pollution are yet to be implemented at the ground level.

Plans to tackle rising air pollution fail to take off

Earlier this year, the National Green Tribunal asked six states, including Punjab, to submit an action plan for battling air pollution. Tribune file

PK Jaiswar

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 14

While concerns regarding the rising air pollution have reached their peak due to stubble burning in the ongoing harvesting season, various plans readied by the administration to combat the pollution are yet to be implemented at the ground level.

Though district-level monitoring committees are holding monthly meetings to review the impact of stubble burning, the situation remains same at the ground level, if the recent air pollution level following is anything to go by.

Earlier this year, the National Green Tribunal asked six states, including Punjab, to submit an action plan for battling air pollution in a total of 100 cities. The state Department of Science, Technology and Environment drafted plans for nine cities in the state in April. Besides Amritsar, other cities considered in the plan included Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Mandi Gobindgarh, Dera Bassi, Khanna, Naya Nangal, Dera Baba Nanak and Patiala. In the plan, the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) held vehicular emission, road dust and industrial emissions as a major source of air pollution in the holy city while burning of bio-mass and garbage, construction and demolition activities were other sources contributing in rising air pollution.

The report also highlighted the major causes and gave suggestions for decreasing the air pollution level in the holy city. It pointed out that vehicles produced significant amount of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxides and other polluting gases and particulate matter. In addition to public awareness programmes, it also laid stress on extensive drives against polluting vehicles, wrong parking, fuel adulteration and phasing out of commercial diesel vehicles more than 15 years old. In their place, the report suggested e-vehicles and CNG-based public transport for the city.

Harpal Singh, PPCB XEN, said monthly review meetings were being held under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioner Shiv Dullar Singh Dhillon, in which necessary instructions had been passed to all stakeholders such as the Municipal Corporation, the PWD, National Highway authorities and the traffic police. “The implementation of the plan is in its initial stages and it will be strengthened in the near future,” he said.

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