Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Pollution around Golden Temple, Amritsar alarming

The mushrooming of small and big hotels in the periphery of Golden Temple, smoke spewing from three-wheelers fitted with two-stroke engines and burning of garbage by the municipal corporation has raised pollution level around the Sikh shrine.
Preliminary reports of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), which had installed four samplers on all top floors of the "parikarma" of the Golden Temple, had described the pollution level as alarming.
Talking to The Tribune, G.S. Majitha, executive engineer, PPCB, said there were more than 100 hotels around Golden Temple which had been frequently using generator sets in case of power failure. "These hotels are like full-fledged factories," he said. Expressing concern over the rising pollution level in the walled city, Majitha said his staff was shocked to see MC employees burning garbage there.
The problem is aggravated due to the use of adulterated fuels by vehicles, especially three-wheelers. The PPCB suggested that vehicles should not be allowed to park near the Darbar Sahib Complex.
Majitha said Amritsar, Jalandhar, Batala and Ludhiana had been marked as most polluted. According to the data collected by the PPCB, the suspended particulate matter (SPM) were beyond the permissible limits. The executive engineer said vehicular traffic contributed the most to the pollution in the city. There were 3,85,476 two-wheelers, 35,249 tractors and 2,082 buses running in Amritsar.
One of the inferences of study was that commercial diesel vehicles were being run on low-quality fuel. Many were being run on kerosene, which released toxic fumes that were responsible for itching eyes and respiratory problems. It also adds lead oxide, sulphur dioxide and nitric oxide to the air.
The historic city also has the dubious distinction of producing a large quantum of solid waste and garbage after Ludhiana - 600 tonnes daily.
Sikh Heritage and Gurudwara News : www.sikhtourism.com