Now, pollution engulfs city’s residential areas; SPM level alarming

With the suspended particulate matter (SPM) touching alarming levels even in residential areas, air pollution has once again become a cause of concern for the city.

A survey conducted by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) revealed that this year's SPM levels were far higher than what they were in the past three years.

As per figures provided by the PPCB, the SPM levels in the residential areas this year touched 497 micrograms, while in commercial areas these were around 495 micrograms. Notably, the levels should not be more than 200 micrograms.

In 2007, the levels were not more than 293 mcg, while in 2006 the figure was 437 mcg.

The pollution levels in sensitive areas, which house schools and hospitals, too have surpassed the permissible limit. Rampant construction, apart from fumes emitted by the vehicles, is being attributed to the problem.

PPCB executive engineer Nazar Singh said 200 mcg was the permissible limit for residential areas and any increase could prove hazardous for health. "Besides vehicles and construction of mega projects, burning of stubble in fields is responsible for high levels of pollution," he said.

P D Singh Randhawa, a resident of Chheharta, said, "This is an issue which needs to be tackled seriously. It's high time that something concrete is done."

Deputy Commissioner K S Pannu said there was immense quantity of dust in the air and few rains. "The moisture level is very low these days, which has aggravated the situation," he said. He added that the district administration was trying to convince farmers not to burn stubble.

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