The coarse particulate matter (mixture of extremely small particles) in Jalandhar is much higher than the level set by National Air Quality Standards and is responsible for the poor air quality in the city.
As per the monthly reports of January and February by the Punjab Pollution Control Board, the amount of particulate matter of diameter less than 10 micrometers was found more than150 mg/m3 (microgram per cubic meter of air).
According to the National Air Quality Standards, the annual mean of the particulate matter should be less than 60mg/m3.
Interestingly, as per the World Health Organiaation's air quality guidelines, the coarse particulate matter should not be more than 20 µg/m3, which is much lesser than the national standards. The annual average of particulate matter has risen significantly since 2011, when it was little less than 150 µg/m3 but still it was much more than the limit.
People living in the city are much troubled from the dusty environment which is also deteriorating the standard health of public.
The main sources of coarse particulate matter are the dust stirred up by vehicles travelling on poor roads, wood smoke and garbage burning.
Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) senior environmental officer SP Garg said, "Road and traffic conditions contribute a big part in air pollution and people are not much aware about the environmental issues".
He added, "Even the public transport of the city is not eco-friendly, with the vehicles releasing black smoke".
There is also a type of fine particulate matter that is less than 2.5 micrometers; these are smaller and more dangerous as they tend to penetrate into the gas exchange regions of the lung. However, there is no such check done for the fine particulate matter.
"We don't have the required equipment and financial assistance from the central government, in order to check the amount of particulate matter of diameter less than 2.5 micrometers" as per sources of the PPCB.
Dr BK Sodhi, MD medicine from the Sacred Heart Hospital, said, "Particulate matter is the main cause of many respiratory diseases like cough and cold, bronchitis, asthma, acute respiratory distress syndrome along with many other diseases that can even lead to permanent damage of the lungs".
"These days the number of patients suffering from respiratory diseases is increasing and the symptoms of many asthma patients are becoming much severe" he said.