The air and noise pollution in almost all major cities witnessed an increase this Diwali as compared to last year.
The pollution level was highest in Ludhiana, which again topped the chart in the state this year.
According to the Punjab Pollution Control Board data, the industrial areas of Ludhiana witnessed a big jump in Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) on Diwali night, which went up 489 ug/m3 in 2011 to 648 ug/m3 this year. Before Diwali the RSPM in the city was 364 ug/m3. In residential areas in this industrial town, the RSPM went up from 365 to 390 ug/m3 this year.
Similarly, in Patiala, the RSPM went up from 244 ug/m3 in 2011 to 250 ug/m3 this year.
Interestingly, the commercial areas of Jalandhar city witnessed a decrease in pollution level with the RSPM level going down from 325 in 2011 to 294 ug/m3 this year. In residential areas, the city witnessed an increase from 245 in last year to 285 ug/m3 this year.
The pollution control board while measuring the level of pollution had divided the major cities in three zones - residential, commercial and sensitive zones. In sensitive zones of the cities, which comprise hospitals and other such areas, the RSPM level has gone up, except in Patiala and Ludhiana, where a marginal dip was recorded.
The permissible limit of RSPM set by the PPCB in commercial and residential areas of the state is 100 ug/m3.
However, the only respite to the air pollution came from the level of sodium di-oxide (SO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx), which remained stable in almost every city as compared to last year.
The noise pollution in the cities has also increased in all cities as compared to last year.
Meanwhile, the PPCB has termed the increase in RSPM this year due to decrease in temperature, as Diwali last year was in the first week of October.
"Due to decrease in temperature, the RSPM particles have not been able to disperse properly this year. If you analyse the data otherwise, there has not been a sharp increase in the level of RSPM level across the state," claimed chief spokesman of the PPCB and senior scientist Charanjit Singh.