Pollution chokes city; air, water not spared

LUDHIANA: Ludhiana, the industrial hub of the state, has the unenviable distinction of being among the 10 most polluted cities of the world, according to a WHO report.

Pollution chokes city; air, water not spared

Industry is one of the major contributors to air pollution; sewage being discharged into Buddha Nullah; and vehicular pollution adds to air pollution in Ludhiana. Photos: Inderjeet verma

vermaajay1968@gmail.com

Manav Mander

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 15 

Ludhiana, the industrial hub of the state, has the unenviable distinction of being among the 10 most polluted cities of the world, according to a WHO report. Today, we have a close look at the air, water and noise pollution levels in the city: 

Air pollution

The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has set up monitoring stations to record air pollution in four parts of the city, Milk Plant, Vishwakarma Chowk, Nahar Spinning Mills, Bharat Nagar Chowk (Zonal Office). 

Major sources of air pollution are industries, vehicular emission, garbage burning, construction activity and bad agricultural practices.  

According to the national ambient air quality standards, ideally, the atmosphere must not contain more than 100 micrograms of respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) per cubic metre, 80 micrograms of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) per cubic metre and 80 micrograms of sulphur dioxide (SO2) per metre.

The data collected by the PPCB show that the highest average RSPM last year was recorded at Vishwakarma Chowk (191.33 microgram/m3), followed by Nahar Spinning Mills (175.83 microgram/ m3), Zonal Office (137.08 microgram/m3) and Milk Plant (104.5 microgram/m3). 

The board has identified nearly 1,000 air polluting industries in the city, known as hub of small scale industries. The burning of rice and wheat straw in the villages on the city periphery, a large number of diesel generator sets and anaerobic digestion of biomass and garbage within the city limits are the other major sources of air pollution in Ludhiana.

“There are four major sources of air pollution in the city. One is industries, second is vehicles, third is construction activity and the fourth is agricultural activity. One cannot ascertain which is the major factor contributing towards air pollution in the city. These four reasons contribute differently at any given time,” said the PPCB Chief Engineer, Gulshan Rai. 

In addition to this, garbage burning also adds to the pollution levels in the city. Gardeners burning garbage in parks and residents setting trash on fire outside their houses are a common site, which add to the high pollution levels of the city. 

According to the national ambient air quality standards, ideally, the atmosphere must not contain more than 100 micrograms of respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) per cubic metre, 80 micrograms of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) per cubic metre and 80 microgram of sulphur dioxide (SO2) per metre.

Water pollution 

There are nearly 260 dyeing units in Ludhiana, 10 industries are large ones and the rest medium. The factories on Tajpur Road, Rahon Road, Focal Point and Industrial Area-A have captive effluent-treatment plants but non-transparent treatment procedures. Of the 675 electroplating units, most discharge their toxic waste into the Buddha Nullah, adding to the waste that households toss into the drain. 

Buddha Nullah, which was once a drain of fresh water, has now become a major source of pollution in the Sutlej as more than 2,500 MLD (million litres daily) of sewage and waste water flow into the most polluted seasonal drain. 

In June 2014, a committee, headed by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s Principal Secretary SK Sandhu and having Secretary of Science Technology and Environment Seema Jain as its member, after conducting various field visits, pinpointed 37 sources of pollution within and outside the Ludhiana MC limits.

Dismantling and permanently plugging all existing points from where effluents were discharged into Buddha Nullah, shifting of existing dairies, providing new industrial area to facilitate the shifting of water polluting industries in non-designated or scattered area, installation of several new and upgrading of existing STPs and CETPs to treat domestic and industrial effluent were among the major steps being taken to make Buddha Nullah a pollution-free water body. According to the findings of the panel, almost 300 MLD of sewage was discharged into the seasonal drain inside and outside the MC limits while more than 2,200 MLD of waste water flows into the Buddha Nullah from at least seven points. The committee had identified the sources of pollution between Kumkalan and Buddha Nullah-Sutlej confluence.

Gulshan Rai said there were four sewage treatment plants in the city with a total capacity of 466 MLD while the city requires more plants with capacity of 250-300 MLD.

Taking about the initiative taken by the department, Rai said to bring down the pollution levels in Buddha Nullah, the department had adopted a green bridge technology, under which five small bridges had been built alongside the nullah where the bacteria were kept. The bacteria treat the chemicals in the water passing through these bridges and reduce its toxicity. It is based on a natural procedure and there is no need for electricity or harmful chemicals for treating water because the bacteria  treat it automatically.

 “It helps in utilising the treated water of the drain for agriculture by reducing the toxicity in water. After the installation of green bridges, there is zero heavy metal in the nullah and aquatic life has also been seen, which once was finished,” claims Rai.

Noise pollution

Constant honking, industrial machinery, power generators and loud music of disc jockeys collectively contribute towards the noise pollution in the city. On Diwali, the noise pollution level in the city rises all together as most residents are fond of bursting crackers. 

“Regular honking by commuters leads to a lot of noise pollution in the city. People should themselves be considerate and should blow horn only when it is necessary. In addition to this, power generators are other major contributors to noise pollution. We make sure that every generator in the city, be it in industrial or residential areas, should be kept under a canopy to reduce noise pollution.  At parties also loud music is not allowed after 10 pm,” Gulshan Rai said.

The average noise pollution level in the residential zone on Diwali last year was 75.48 decibel. In the commercial zone, the level was 78.35 decibel and in the sensitive zone, the average level last year was 74.78 decibel. 

The city was divided into three zones, Verka Milk Plant on Ferozepur Road (residential zone), Vishwakarma Chowk (commercial zone) and Sheela Hospital, near Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (sensitive zone). 

The normal range of sound is 75 dB and 70dB during the day and night time, respectively, for industrial area, 65 dB and 55 dB for commercial area, 55 dB and 45dB for residential area and 50 dB and 40 dB for silence zone. As per the rules, the day time shall mean from 6 pm to 10 pm and night time from 10 pm to 6 am. The normal range of sound is 75 dB and 70dB during the day and night time, respectively for industrial area, 65 dB and 55 dB for commercial area, 55 dB and 45dB for residential area and 50 dB and 40 dB for silence zone. As per the rules, the day time shall mean from 6 pm to 10 pm and the night time from 10 pm to 6 am.

Top Stories

BJP MLA's son among seven killed as car falls off bridge in Maharashtra

BJP MLA's son among seven medical students killed as car falls off bridge in Maharashtra

The incident occurred around 1.30 am, one deceased included ...

Don't want people's livelihood to be affected, Covid curbs to be eased as soon as possible: Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi's Covid curbs to be eased soon, don't want people's livelihood to be affected, Arvind Kejriwal

The Delhi government's proposal to lift weekend curfew and o...

India logs 2,55,874 new Covid-19 cases, positivity rate dips

India logs 2,55,874 new Covid-19 cases, positivity rate dips

The Covid death toll now stands at 4.9 lakh

US President Joe Biden answers inflation query by calling Fox reporter `Son of b***’

US President Joe Biden answers inflation query by calling Fox reporter 'Son of b***'

His comments were captured on video and by the microphone in...

Cities

View All