SUBJECT :Today is World Environment Day 

Chandigarh, June 4
The highest vehicular density in the country appears to have taken its toll on India’s first planned city, which continues to lag behind national ambient air quality standards. This coupled with a comparatively high standard of living share the blame for environmental degradation in the city, which could have an adverse impact on residents’ health, data compiled by the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee (CPCC) indicated.

According to the data, the respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) and suspended particulate matter levels in Chandigarh are higher than the national permissible levels. What is worrying is the fact that Sector 17, which does not have any industrial activity, is recording higher levels of both RSPM and SPM.

While Sector 17 recorded RSPM levels of 77 micrograms per cubic meter last year, the figure for January this year was 97. In fact, the SPM level jumped to 181 in January as compared to 158 in 2009. The highest ever RSPM level recorded was in 2004 at 111 while the highest SPM level of 296 was recorded in 2001.

Of all the four city zones the figures for the Industrial Area were only within the permissible levels. In 2009 the area recorded RSPM level of 93 as against the permissible level of 120 and an SPM level of 186 against the accepted level of 360. For Punjab Engineering College the figure was 77 for RSPM as compared to a normal of 60 while the SPM figure was 155 as against the normal rating of 140.

CPCC officials said the highest vehicular density in the country was the primary reason for the higher pollution levels in the city. “The use of more electrical appliances in the wake of higher standards of living is also a contributing factor for the environmental degradation,” the officials added.

Surprisingly, these two levels have gone up in the last reading recorded in January this year. While there has been a substantial rise in the RSPM level in Sector 17 from 77 last year to 97 in 2010, the SPM level has jumped from 158 to 181. The IMTECH areas have also recorded an increase from 80 to 89 in the RSPM level with the SPM level rising to 169 from 160.

Pollution in Sec 17 up this year


RSPM level

SPM level




2010 (Jan)



Source: Pradeep Sharma Tribune News Service