The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has challenged the report issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that has ranked four cities in Punjab among the top 22 polluted places in the world.

The WHO has ranked Ludhiana at 12th, Khanna 16th, Amritsar 21st and Mandi Gobindgarh 22nd based on the amount of particulate matter (PM2.5) in the air.

Manpreet Singh, chairman of the board, said the WHO report was baseless and the board has written to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to convene an urgent meeting to get to the bottom of the WHO report.

The board chairman said the PPCB was collecting data about the ambient air quality using some high-end equipment installed at the 11 stations across the state.

“Neither the PPCB nor any government or semi-government organisation or any of the universities of Punjab has so far recorded PM2.5 that has been made the basis of the WHO report to rank the four cities,” Manpreet Singh claimed.

He said the WHO had not got the report validated from either from the PPCB or Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). “It is a matter of concern for PPCB that a non-validated report has been published by WHO, sending out wrong signals about Punjab,” the chairman said.

The board chairman said he has also asked the CPCB to ascertain from where the data was collected by the WHO.

He said the CPCB has sanctioned three Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations (CAAQMS) for Mandi Gobindgarh, Ludhiana and Amritsar to measure the real-time air quality data in these cities, including PM2.5.

“These CAAQMS have already been established at Mandi Gobindgarh and Amritsar and are under stabilisation while that of Ludhiana is under installation. The real time data of air quality of these cities, including PM2.5, will be put into public domain from June 30,” Manpreet Singh said.

Source: May 14, 2016, The Tribune