he World Health Organisation has observed Ludhiana as the fourth most polluted city in the world. The WHO revealed this after monitoring 1,100 cities in 91 countries. The industrial capital of Punjab recorded 251 micrograms per cubic meter of pollution in the air. This was much higher than the WHO's maximum recommended level of 20 µg/m3.
The little-known town of Ahwaz in Iran is the most polluted, followed by Mongolia's capital Ulan Bator and Quetta in Pakistan.
The WHO database that covered the period between 2003 and 2010 also put Kanpur (209 µg/m3) on the list of ten most polluted cities in the world. Delhi with 198 and Lucknow and Indore with 186 and 174 µg/m3 are the other top polluted cities in the country. Incidentally, Amritsar turned out to be the least polluted of the 32 Indian cities that feature on the list.
The industrial capital of Punjab recorded 251 micrograms per cubic meter of pollution in the air. This was much higher than the WHO’s maximum recommended level of 20 µg/m3. The WHO report also put Kanpur on the list.
As per the WHO estimates, more than 2 million people die every year from breathing in tiny particles present in indoor and outdoor air pollution. PM10 particles, which are of 10 micrometers or less, can penetrate the lungs and enter the bloodstream and cause heart disease, lung cancer, asthma and acute lower respiratory infections.
A time-series study last year on the association of air pollution and mortality in Ludhiana done by the School of Public Health, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, had indicated that high air pollution was connected with human mortality.
The Punjab Pollution Control Board has identified 994 air polluting industries in the city, known as hub of small scale industries. The burning of rice and wheat straw in the surrounding villages of the city, large number of diesel generator sets due to erratic supply of power and anaerobic digestion of biomass and garbage within the city limits are the other major sources of air pollution in Ludhiana.
The Ministry of Environment and Forest has declared industrial cluster of Ludhiana as one of the critically polluted clusters, which has resulted in the imposition of a temporary restriction for establishment of the new industrial units.