Naming Ludhiana as the most polluted city in the country, a report of the World Health Organisation blames the Punjab Pollution Control Board as well as the industrial city’s residents for its status of being India’s pollution capital.
The Punjab Pollution Control Board, however, counters that if Ludhiana is very polluted, it is largely because of diesel-operated auto-rickshaws.
According to the WHO guidelines, the atmosphere must not contain more than 20 micrograms of particulate matter per cubic metre but in Ludhiana the figure is an incredible 251. Delhi and Mumbai stand at 198 and 132, respectively.
Since Ludhiana has been declared as being critically polluted, now industries are being monitored on a daily basis and pollution-controlling equipment is also being put in place.
“Punjab Pollution Control Board has framed an action plan, under which, the Department of Transport was directed that the three wheelers which are not worthy of plying on the roads should not be given the license and they should be phased out of the city roads.
Secondly, there should be a provision of using cleaner fuel in the vehicles and CNG should be provided for that,” said Garg.
The PPCB says the municipal corporation too cannot escape blame for not starting a dedicated and efficient bus service to put off the load of vehicles on Ludhiana’s congested roads. As the departments squabble, Ludhiana residents can only take a deep breath because that’s what’s required to survive in the city.
Earlier, Ludhiana was included in the list of 43 critically polluted cities and the Union ministry of Environment and Forests had imposed a ban on industrial pollution in January last year.
Though the ban was lifted a year later, the ministry instructed the industries to prepare an action plan to keep a check on pollution.
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