Amritsar Jan 21: A team comprising of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) officials visited the Golden Temple complex here recently to monitor its surroundings for pollution levels.
In its initial study, the team has suggested that vehicular traffic should be banned around 500-meter radius around the temple to protect it from the effects of air pollution. CPCB Additional Director RC Trivedi said if it was established that the air pollution was have a damaging effect on the marble and gold walls of the temple, they would suggest a ban on vehicular traffic within a 500 meter radius of the temple and to stop industrial activities, as was done in the case of Taj Mahal.
"We are not sure yet, but normally, when there is a high air pollution, it leaves a marked effect on the marble," he added.
Trivedi was of the view that pollution levels in Amritsar were comparatively lower than in Agra.
"Rising vehicular traffic around Golden Temple, besides presence of gold refineries in its vicinity were causing damage to the sheen of the gold as well as marble," said Environment and Science and Technology Minister Bikram Singh Majithia.
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) member Jaswinder Singh Advocate said: "We have to give a second thought to the firecracker show at Golden Temple on Diwali, which causes air pollution and have to find an alternative for that."
Earlier, after it was observed that the concentration of Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) varied from 296 to 586 micrograms per cubic meter, as against the normal limit of 100 microgram per cubic meter, around the periphery of Golden Temple. The District administration had taken various measures in April 2007, including removal of the diesel oil furnace installed on the machine for preparation of chapati's (wheat bread) for 'Langar' (community kitchen). But, the air pollution still remains a big threat to the holy shrine.