Rising air pollution led to 41,090 deaths in Punjab in 2019: Report
Punjab reported as many as 41,090 deaths attributable to air pollution, which is 18.8% of the total fatalities, in 2019, revealed the Down to Earth and Centre for Science and Environment’s annual report titled “State of India’s Environment 2021”.
The report, which was released on Saturday, stated that 1.67 million Indians died due to air pollution in 2019 as per the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019 on health and economic impact of air pollution in the states of India. Half of these deaths were in just five states including Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal and Rajasthan.
In Punjab, 1,148 million US dollars (1.49% state GDP) economic loss was ascribed to air pollution. “As many as 34,119 deaths (19% of total deaths) were attributable to air pollution range in Haryana in the year while the state pegged 1,566 million US dollars economic loss due to air pollution,” the report said.
The report mentioned that two Punjab industrial clusters, including Jalandhar and Batala, were among 33 of the 88 clusters of the country where air quality evaluated in 2009 had worsened by 2018. In 2009, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) developed the Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) to identify problematic industrial areas in the country. In the 2009 CEPI study, a total of 88 industrial clusters were identified as polluted industrial areas (PIAS) by CPCB and state PPCB.”
Water pollution up in Ludhiana
The report said that the industrial cluster of Ludhiana was among 45 of total 88 clusters where water pollution had increased. The city scored over 70 (CEPI score out of 100) in 2018, under the critically polluted cluster category, since 2009 in absence of adequate action to reduce the pollution.
“Jalandhar and Batala were among 35 of the 88 industrial clusters between 2009 and 2018 where overall environmental degradation was witnessed in the period. In this category, CEPI score of Jalandhar was around 70 in the year 2009, but it has increased nearer to 80 (out of 100), while Batala scored over 60 in 2009 while it was closer to 70 in 2018,” the report said.
The report underlined that despite environmental concerns, an industrial park was approved in July near the Mattewara forest range and the Sutlej in Ludhiana.
Govt making all efforts: Environment secy
Punjab environment secretary Rahul Tiwari said the Punjab government has been making efforts to curb air pollution. The government has cleared 23 plans to check pollution in the state. The plans are regularly monitored by his office and quarterly by the Punjab chief secretary and NGT panel.