The air quality in the city has deteriorated in the past few years, revealed the latest survey conducted by the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee (CPCC).
The survey was conducted at five locations - Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), Sector 39; Industrial Area, Phase 1; Kaimbwala; Punjab Engineering College (PEC); and Sector 17 - in the city and the level of respiratory suspended particulate matter (RSPM), suspended particulate matter (SPM), both pollutants, was more than permissible limits of 60 microgram per cubic metre (mcg/cu m).
To measure both pollutants, sampling was done in three shifts, each of eight hours a day.
According to data, both 24 hourly and annual averages, the level of RSPM and SPM exceeded permissible limits at all five locations. RSPM and SPM level at Sector 17 was recorded at 100 mcg/cu m and at Industrial Area, Phase 1, it was 131 mcg/cu m. The level of both components at Kaimbwala and IMTECH was recorded at 119 mcg/cu m and 102 mcg/cu m, respectively, while at PEC it was 97 mcg/cu m.
However, the level of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide was well within the limits of 40-60 mcg/cu m. The ever rising number of vehicular population in the city emerged as a major contributor to the deteriorating quality of air in the past few years.
The city witnessed increase in the number of vehicles by 20% from 703,340 to 843,223 since 2008.
The petroleum products contribute to most of the pollutants preset in the air and the demand of such products is on the rise with thousands of new liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connections released every year. The use of petroleum products has increased from 249,199 metric tonnes (MT) in 2008 to 299,607 MT in 2012.
Industrial activities have also contributed to the air pollution. The administration had set up Phase 1 and 2 industrial areas during 1970s on 147 acres. More than 2,100 small-scale units are operating in both phases of Industrial Area.
According to the survey, solid waste, gensets and air conditioners are the other sources of air pollutants contributing to the pollution.
The CPCC steps for controlling pollution emitted from vehicles, industrial and commercial sources. Besides that, the committee has called for developing prevention based environment policy and a comprehensive urban air quality management strategy, which includes information related to urban policy, ambient air quality emission inventory and air quality dispersion models.
Permissible limit of RSPM: 60 mcg/cu m
Levels recorded at 5 locations
Industrial Area Phase 1: 131 mcg/cu m
Kaimbwala: 119 mcg/cu m
IMTECH: 102 mcg/cu m
Sector 17: 100 mcg/cu m
PEC: 97 mcg/cu m
Factors causing pollution
Gensets and air conditioners