Ludhiana, May 19
Even as stubble burning cases have registered a decline during the current wheat harvesting, popularly known as rabi season, which is drawing to a close, Ludhiana remains the second most polluted city in Punjab as on Thursday, the official data has confirmed.
TOP TEN POLLUTED CITIES OF PUNJAB
- Mandi Gobindgarh 174
- Ludhiana 156
- Mohali 152
- Jalandhar 144
- Amritsar 132
- Patiala 132
- Khanna 131
- Ropar 110
- Faridkot 82
- Bathinda 69
From 427 farm fire incidents recorded in district during the preceding week (May 5 to 12), the crop residue burning cases have come down considerably to 124 during the past seven days (May 13 to 19), the data compiled by the Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC) in Ludhiana has revealed.
However, the air quality index (AQI) in the state’s industrial and business capital continued to remain unhealthy between 163 on Monday and 156 on Thursday, which was the second most worst air quality in the state. With PM2.5 concentration in Ludhiana, air currently is pegged at 13.1 times above the World Health Organisation (WHO) annual air quality guideline value. Another industrial town Mandi Gobindgarh remained the most polluted in the state on Thursday with the poorest AQI 174.
On the stubble burning front, Ludhiana district recorded 124 farm fires in the past week, with the daily count remaining second highest on four days and highest on one day.
These included seven on Thursday, which were second highest in the state after highest eight in Muktsar, eight on May 18, nine on May 17, three on May 16, which was highest in state, six on May 15, another second highest figure after highest nine in Jalandhar, 43 on May 14, once again second highest in the state after highest 86 in Jalandhar, and 48, yet again second highest in the state after highest of 51 crop residue burning events registered in Jalandhar on that day.
With this, the total farm fires in Ludhiana district have gone up to 940, which is sixth highest in the state.
While Ferozepur remained the worst-hit district with the maximum count of 1,422 stubble burning cases till Thursday, followed by Amritsar second with 1,233 farm fires, Gurdaspur third with 1,119 crop residue burning events, Moga fourth with 1,096 such cases, and Tarn Taran ranked fifth with 1,062 fire events recorded till date.
Among other 17 districts, which were better placed than Ludhiana, Mohali remained the safest district with the lowest of 30 farm fires till date, followed by 71 in Ropar, 72 in Fatehgarh Sahib, 165 in Pathankot, 15 in Nawanshahr, 225 in Malerkotla, 412 in Mansa, 448 in Patiala, 471 in Barnala, 475 in Hoshiarpur, 523 in Faridkot, 526 in Fazilka, 710 in Kapurthala, 723 in Muktsar, and 783 in Sangrur, 814 in Jalandhar, and 829 in Bathinda.
“The continuous unhealthy level of air quality in Ludhiana is causing major health hazard. The cases of respiratory problems and breathlessness, especially among those suffering from asthma and cardiac complications, besides children and senior citizens, are on the rise,” said an expert Dr SK Agrawal.
The cases of stubble burning have registered a significant decline in the past week, which is a positive sign. Farmers are being sensitised to ill-effects of crop residue burning on fields and human health. Habitual offenders are being proceeded against as per law. — Surabhi Malik, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana
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