Chandigarh’s air quality drops further despite 13% surplus green cover

Despite achieving a green cover of 46 per cent– 13 per cent quite the mandatory 33 per cent– the Air Quality Index (AQI) of Chandigarh has drastically deteriorated over time. The AQI has reportedly fallen from satisfactory to moderate within the last one-and-a-half month.

Chandigarh AQI was recorded as 144 on Tuesday. it had been 125 on Monday. In October, the AQI was recorded as ‘Satisfactory’ for merely five days.

Chandigarh is among 112 Indian cities identified as Non-Attainment Cities for not meeting the prescribed standards of air quality.

Experts maintained that the town must change tons of patterns including shifting the main target on index bio-diversity from merely plantation, system to avoid traffic jam and plantation of trees at location where trees are axed. They maintained that a serious chunk of trees in Chandigarh aren’t old, but damaged by termite.

Director UT Environment department, Debendra Dalai said, “Green cover and air quality are two separate things. There are several factors liable for the deteriorating air quality of the actual area. Indeed, Chandigarh has achieved the excess task of green cover, we’ve no control on the pollutant contents coming from neighbouring areas. a serious source of pollution on a part of Chandigarh is vehicle traffic . We don’t have much construction, industry emission etc. If Chandigarh was a coastal city, its AQI would be one among the simplest within the country.”

In resonance with Dalai, Chairperson of Department of Botany at PU, Daizy Rani said, “The AQI depends on the pollutant contents within the air. Green cover depends on the presence of trees within the specific area. The green cover mitigates the pollution . But the great green cover isn’t the guarantee of excellent air quality forever. There might be several reasons behind the deteriorated air quality index. It might be enough vehicular population, traffic jams, construction etc. Moreover, the pattern of pollution within the neighbouring cities also make an impression . in sight of Chandigarh, traffic/vehicular population is that the main source. Chandigarh lacks industries but vehicle movements from adjoining states, even stubble burning during the actual season are prime factors.”

Sudhir Singla, a Panchkula-based activist working within the field of forestry, said, “Index Bio-diversity stresses on the plantation of specific trees which may mitigate pollutant contents in air. Shrubs, bushes etc also assist in increasing the green cover but these cannot mitigate the pollution enough.”

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The city was counted as a Non-Attainment City by the Central Pollution control panel (CPCB) in March 2019. As per the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOE&F) guidelines, 33 per cent green cover is mandatory in every state and UT.

In its Greening Chandigarh Action Plan-2020-21, released on World Environment Day in June this year, UT Forest and Wildlife department claimed that the green cover of Chandigarh was 46 per cent, which is 13 per cent quite the fixed target of 33 per cent.

On October 22, National Green Tribunal (NGT) stressed on the fulfillment of nine agendas found out for Chandigarh for ensuring clean air.

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