LUDHIANA: At a time when Ludhiana has witnessed the worst times (loss of lives, huge setbacks for industries) on account of the Covid-19 pandemic, city’s air that was also among the most polluted in the world has somewhat become a bit cleaner.
According to a report prepared by IQAir, a Swiss organization, Ludhiana’s ranking among the major cities across the world has dropped by 15 places in 2020 as compared to previous years.
In the report, IQAir has data of cities of more than 105 countries. Out of the 30 most polluted cities globally, 22 are Indian cities.
As per the report, Ludhiana is at 142nd spot among the cities of the world. Of the eight cities of Punjab that feature in the list, Ludhiana is at 5th position whereas Fatehgarh Sahib is number one in Punjab with a rank of 38. Patiala is at the bottom with a rank of 181.
The report revealed that over the past three years, Ludhiana’s ranking on air pollution had come down among major cities of the world. While city was 95th in 2018, it’s position dropped to 127 in 2019 and 142 in 2020.
The report said whereas yearly average PM 2.5 in Ludhiana was 55.1 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) in 2018, it dropped to 49.3 µg/m3 in 2019 and then to 45.2 µg/m3 in 2020, a fall of 8.3% in PM 2.5 in 2020 as compared to 2019.
Experts said there is overall fall in air pollution in 2020, because of Covid-19.
An official of Greenpeace India who was not authorised to talk to the media shared that there are couple of things because of which average air pollution has dropped and one the main factors was the lockdown. He said the drop in pollution levels has been across cities.
“But while air pollution has gone down in many cities of India, health and economic cost of such pollution is severe even now. Also, in cities of Punjab and Bihar, the pollution control bodies don’t have enough monitoring stations. Some of these stations have been located in green areas, so the actual pollution levels are never measured,” said the official.
The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) said that there are various factors responsible for fall in air pollution levels. “There are seasonal variations in air pollution and it is more during stubble burning seasons. However, there is drop in pollution over the years as various projects are being carried out to check the same. And the lockdown imposed during Covid-19 did make a difference in air pollution level,” said PPCB senior officer Sandeep Behl.
Many residents meanwhile said air pollution is a big issue in Ludhiana.
“Air pollution has been a big problem in Ludhiana and it does cause problem to the residents as it affects the respiratory system. We want that the authorities should work hard to ensure that there is drastic fall in pollution in Ludhiana,” said Amarjeet Kaur, a city resident.