Air-: The elastic, invisible and continuously moving mixture of gases (chiefly nitrogen and oxygen, as well as hydrogen, carbon dioxide, argon, neon, helium, etc.) that surrounds the earth and; is one of the main causes for sustainable life.

Air Pollution -:Air pollution is the modification of the natural characteristics of the atmosphere by chemicals, particulate matter, or biological agents or introduction of contaminants into the atmosphere that cause harm to all living beings including humans and the environment. 

Ambient air quality of Chandigarh

With the increase in population and the industrialization of the city, the problem of air pollution has also been arising. Due to high per capita income, the city beautiful is among the highest vehicular density areas of the country. Due to daily inflow of commuters from the three adjoining states (Haryana, Punjab & Himachal Pradesh), and the visitors load for centrally located PGIMER (Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research); Chandigarh experiences very heavy traffic load daily. Also as the name indicates, city beautiful is densely occupied with a variety of seasonal, flowering, ornamental and fruit yielding trees. All these factors contribute through their own way towards the gaseous pollutants and suspended particulate loads in the air by means of releasing SO2, NO2, smoke, carbon particles and pollens. 

Ambient air quality of Chandigarh is under pressure. Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter in the city is crossing its permissible limits. However, the SO2 & NOx levels are well within permissible limits.  Due to its wider roads and wise traffic sense and regulations, traffic jams are rare in Chandigarh. In a survey, it is found that Chandigarh is the only city which is traffic congestion free. Whole of the Union Territory of Chandigarh is also declared as Air Pollution Control area in 1988.  To abate industrial pollution, the industrial area has been located towards southeast of the city. The Railway Station is advantageously located bordering the industrial area.  CPCC has made sure that all the air polluting industries have installed proper pollution control devices. To monitor and control vehicular pollution, 'Pollution under control' certificates have been made compulsory for all the vehicles by the State Transport Authority and Chandigarh Traffic Police.  Thirty stations are authorized in the city to issue the same. While lead free petrol was introduced in the Union Territory in early 2000, efforts are being made to promote battery operated vehicles. The Administration has also shifted ISBT from sector 17 to Sector 43.  This restricts the buses from outstations to the outskirts of Chandigarh. The Auto Repair Market has also been shifted from Sector 21 market to Sectors 43 & 48 at the outskirts.  To strenthen the monitoring and control of air pollution further, burning of leaves & operation of unauthorized gensets is discouraged. Chandigarh Administration spreads awareness through mass media. From time to time camps and exhibitions to create awareness are also organized.

Due to the well managed traffic system, strictly followed speed limits, dense tree cover around all roads, high green area, and regular industrial check-ups; the air quality of Chandigarh is much healthier than most of the growing cities of India. The SO2 & NO2 levels of the city always lie below the permissible limits given by the “National Ambient Air Quality Standards  2009” of India (MPL SO2-50 µg/m3 & NO2-50 µg/m3). However, the RSPM (PM10) level has been observed above permissible limits in the city. The average RSPM level observed for the last year i.e. 2014 was 105 µg/m3, which is quite higher than the desired limit of 60 µg/m3. Therefore, there is a need to find out the culprit facts and to plan out strategy for their effective eradication.  

The entire Union Territory of Chandigarh was declared ‘Air Pollution Control Area’ under Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 on 1st, February 1988 and the Act was implemented by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Subsequently, the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee (CPCC) was established in 1991 which is now responsible for performing the functions of the State Pollution Control Board. 


Source: SOER 2012, CPCC, Chandigarh