City air is cleaner than it used to be

Compared to previous years, Chandigarh residents breathe fresher. Air quality in the Union Territory has improved considerably over the last few years, a survey has revealed.

The level of major pollutants — Respiratory Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM), Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) and residues of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides — in the air has gone down.

The survey — Ambient Air Quality Data — was conducted by the Chandigarh Pollution Control Board. During the survey, air quality was randomly checked at five places in the city — Sector 17; Industrial Area, Punjab Engineering College, Sector 12; Government College for Girls, Sector 10; and Kaimbwala village. The survey was conducted in October last year.

The study has revealed that Sector 17 and adjoining areas have the best air quality in the city; Industrial Area remains most polluted.

In Sector 17, RSPM level came down from 111 microgram per cubic meter (MPCM) in 2004 to 77 MPCM in 2009. But around Punjab Engineering College (PEC), RSPM level increased slightly, from 69 MPCM in 2004 to 77 MPCM in 2009.

SPM level in Sector 17 went down from 254 MPCM in 2004 to 158 MPCM in 2009. But around PEC, it increased from 137 to 155 MPCM. Similarly, levels of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (Nox) have maintained a declining trend around the city.

Additional Director of Environment P J S Dadhwal said the joint effort of the Forest department, Municipal Corporation, traffic police and Chandigarh Administration had produced this result.

Shifting of polluting industries, better engine efficiency and use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for auto-rickshaws have led to the improvement in air quality.

Further, phasing out of old buses and regular pollution checks by the traffic police have helped.

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