Air quality worsens in Nalagarh, Baddi, Una industrial clusters

Ambika Sharma

Tribune News Service

Solan, November 6

The air quality index (AQI) deteriorated in the three industrial clusters of Una, Baddi and Nalagarh this Diwali as compared to last year, as per the rating released by the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) today.

As per the SPCB, the Baddi industrial area recorded the highest AQI of 165 compared to 133 registered last year.

In Nalagarh, an AQI of 110 was registered against 105 recorded last year while the Una cluster witnessed 99 AQI compared to last year's 86.

The AQI in these three clusters, which account for nearly 85 per cent of the state's industry, had started deteriorating since October 30.

In other industrial clusters of Kala Amb, Paonta Sahib, Damtal and Parwanoo, an AQI of 92, 133 , 95 and 90 were registered, respectively, this year, an improvement from the AQI of 101, 139, 97 and 109 last year.

The air quality index also improved in other places such as Shimla (40), Dharamsala (77), Sundernagar (62) and Manali (70) this Diwali compared to 68, 113, 123 and 102 registered last year.

Though the SPCB had restricted the use of firecrackers for two hours and allowed the use of green crackers, the directions were not adhered to.

No mechanism had been developed by the authorities to check the sale of non-green crackers or to restrict their timings in the field. Besides issuing a notification restricting their use, the SPCB did little to ensure its adherence.

Local administrations, which issue licences to the cracker sellers, did not ensure the sale of only green crackers or restrict their use for two hours. The ban remained only paper and also reflected the lack of seriousness in the authorities in checking air pollution.

Member Secretary, SPCB, Harikesh Meena, said, "We will identify gaps in the implementation of the ban on firecrackers and review the situation for effective implementation in future". The situation worsened in the Baddi and Nalagarh industrial belts where residents complained of exceptionally poor air quality.

An AQI between 51 and 100 is rated as 'satisfactory', between 101 and 200 moderate and between 201 and 300 as poor.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service
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