Patiala, Nov 8 (UNI) Punjab's largest and most populated city, Ludhiana was the ''most polluted'' during last year's Diwali on October 21.
According to a study by the Punjab Pullution Control Board (PPCB) on the levels of pollution in the major cities and towns of the state on the occasion of Diwali, it was observed that the air quality in Ludhiana was the worst hit due to bursting of crackers.
Ludhiana city was once again declared ''most polluted'' by the Board compared to other cities like Amritsar, Jalandhar, Patiala, Mandi Gobindgarh and other places. Patiala was declared the least polluted during the time of Diwali amongst the 11 major towns where the levels of pollution were recorded on the occasion of last year's Diwali.
The PPCB today suggested to spare a thought for the environment and spread awareness about the dangers of air pollution.
Though the level of gaseous pollutants like Sulphar Dioxide and Nitrogen Dioxide remained well within the permissible limits, the concentration levels of the former exceeded the limits in the ''sensitive area'' (hospitals, schools) of Ludhiana. Air quality in commercial areas of Amritsar was observed to be the most affected with respect to Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM).
The SPM measured by the Board during last Diwali in commercial areas of Ludhiana was between 572 mcg and 1167 microgram (mcg). In residential areas of the city it was between 478 mcg and 802 mcg and in sensitive areas between 375 mcg and 612 mcg.
The levels of SPM were alarming, as its permissible limits in industrial, domestic and sensitive areas are 500 mcg, 200 mcg and 100 mcg, respectively. It was four times the permissible limit in the domestic area and six times in sensitive areas like hospitals in Ludhiana and other cities of Punjab.
To reduce pollution during Diwali, the PPCB suggested banning crackers generating high-intensity noise levels and gaseous pollutants, besides launching mass awareness campaigns with the help of NGOs and the media.
The after effects of the Diwali festival will be felt in the days to come also as the SPM lingers on in the atmopshere for many days, PPCB officials stated.