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Despite Being Epicentre of Stubble Burning, Punjab Sees Low Pollution Levels

These cities are in the vicinity of stubble burning but are showing relatively good AQI counts possibly because the smoke plume is getting a ballast

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Stubble Burning, Punjab, Pollution
The joint capital, Chandigarh is at 86 in the satisfactory category of AQI. Flickr

For a region that is the epicentre of crop fire burning, Punjab is exhibiting fairly comfortable levels of air quality index (AQI) while many parts of Delhi NCR, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are showing elevated air pollution levels.

As par data collated from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for November 7, cities in Punjab except Jalandhar are all in the satisfactory to moderate category – Amritsar (154), Bathinda (102), Khanna (89), Ludhiana (142), Mandi Gobindgarh (119) and Patiala (66).

Only Jalandhar is in the poor category with AQI count of 217. The joint capital, Chandigarh is at 86 in the satisfactory category of AQI.

These cities are in the vicinity of stubble burning but are showing relatively good AQI counts possibly because the smoke plume is getting a ballast with the wind conditions being northwestern at many times.

Stubble Burning, Punjab, Pollution
As par data collated from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for November 7, cities in Punjab except Jalandhar are all in the satisfactory to moderate category – Amritsar (154), Bathinda (102), Khanna (89). Flickr

Punjab has seen the highest incidence of stubble burning incidents. According to Agriculture Ministry data, there have been 25,366 incidents in the current year, down 8.7 per cent from last year’s number of 27,584. Compared to Punjab, such incidents in Haryana are much less, 4,414 in the current year, down from 5,000 last year. In Uttar Pradesh, stubble burning incidents have reduced drastically by 48.2 per cent from 3,133 to 1,622 in the current year.

Vivek Chattopadhyaya, Programme Manager, Air Pollution Control Unit, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said: “Due to direction of the wind towards Delhi and stagnation of lower atmosphere, the Indo-Gangetic plane acts as a sink and it coincides with local air pollution and ‘parali’ burning during winter, therefore air pollution levels rapidly build up. It takes lot of time to clean as atmosphere’s capacity to clean itself reduces, as this region is also land locked by Himalaya, Aravali and Vindhya mountain range.”

Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia said in a recent tweet: “Satellite images suggest that all of Gangetic plains, residing almost half of the population of our country, is locked in a poisonous gas chamber.”

Aam Aadmi Party leader Atishi, also in a recent tweet said: “Anyone who thinks smog is a Delhi problem, pls see NASA maps, which show how the smog is spreading in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, UP, West Bengal and MP. If this is not a national issue, then what is? Is it not time for the Central Govt to solve this yearly national crisis?”

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Apart from Delhi, several cities are currently seeing very high air pollution levels. Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh tops the list at AQI of 435 followed by Talcher in Odisha at 413, both falling in the severe air quality zone.

There are many cities falling under the very poor AQI including Patna (338), Sonipat (301), Palwal (310), Muzaffarpur (341), Manesar (328), Lucknow (366), Kanpur (366), Baghpat (352), Panipat (321), Faridabad (312), Ghaziabad (325), Greater Noida (318), and Noida (328). Delhi is also in the same category of AQI.

Pollution may not be just limited to a big city like Delhi with its issues of large population of vehicles and use of diesel generators. There are at least 14 much smaller cities with much higher air pollution than Delhi.

Agriculture burning sources and older vehicles can cause high air pollution in smaller cities.

Stubble Burning, Punjab, Pollution
Only Jalandhar is in the poor category with AQI count of 217. Flickr

Sumit Sharma, Director, Earth Science and Climate Change, TERI, said: “There are several reasons which can lead to higher PM2.5 concentrations in smaller cities as well. Proximity to agricultural burning sources, presence of higher share of older vehicles, absence of CNG for automotive, residential, industrial use, burning of waste, and limitations in enforcement and congestion may lead to higher concentration levels in smaller cities.

“Other than these factors, local meteorological factors also influence air pollution levels.”

Chattopadhyay of CSE said that cities in north India get affected at the same time.

“Often smaller cities have higher PM levels in air compared to bigger cities, although their respective emission load varies a lot depending upon local sources, although much lower than a city like Delhi,” he said.

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“Since air pollution is a regional problem all cities in the northern India get affected during the same time. Recently apart from the local sources, crop residue/biomass burning in Punjab, Haryana and UP affects the entire region. For instance in Delhi, biomass burning contribution varies from 2 to about 40 percent but overall much less than 25 percent during the entire winter,” he added. (IANS)

Next Story

Follow these Tips and Don’t let the Pollution Damage your Hair

Prevent pollution from creating hair damage

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Healthy hair
Excessive exposure to pollution, dust and dirt can cause scalp irritation and wreak havoc for your hair. Pixabay

Did you know our scalp comprises of 1,50,000 hair follicles! Excessive exposure to pollution, dust and dirt can cause scalp irritation and wreak havoc for your hair. The pollutants enter the skin barrier and produce free radicals which further aggravate your scalp leading to inflammation, dehydration and aging of the same.

Monisha Bhatia, Head of Education, Kerastase talks about what it takes to keep your hair from damage.

The scalp skin is more delicate having a higher number of sebaceous glands, sweat glands, and hair follicles and a lower barrier function as compared to the skin on the rest of the body. This makes scalp care essential. And beautiful hair does begin with a healthy scalp.

Just as one uses specific products to address different skin concerns, so too should one use specific targeted solutions to remedy scalp issues. A well trained professional expert at a salon is best suited to diagnose your concerns and recommend what will work for you.

Pollution hair
To ensure a healthy scalp one must definitely use a good shampoo as per your scalp type to purify & rebalance your scalp. Pixabay

To ensure a healthy scalp one must definitely use a good shampoo as per your scalp type to purify & rebalance your scalp. A wide range of Silicon-free scalp specific shampoos – for various concerns Oily/Dry/Sensitive/Hair loss/ Thinning to deep cleanse can help your scalp and keep it well-moisturized.

These shampoos with their unique formulation carry AOX Complex (L-carnosine, Vitamin E and Moringa) that have anti-oxidation properties and fight internal and external aggression. After the shampoo is washed out it is essential to rebalance the scalp with a treatment designed specifically to be applied on the scalp. It soothes & hydrates sensitive/dry/itchy scalp restoring the oil/moisture balance.

Apart from using the suitable shampoo and conditioner, your hair needs protection against the pollutants in the winter air which cause static and fly-aways. Kerastase Elixir Ultime Oil helps fight frizz and static and gives a healthy shine too. Use it to touch up your hair during the day. The oil doesn’t sit on the surface of your hair, but actually gets absorbed to provide nourishment all day long.

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A visit to the salon for deep cleansing once a fortnight is definitely helpful. These in-salon holistic treatments use refined ingredients to detoxify and moisturize your scalp and hair. Additionally, the indulgent massage gestures help with blood circulation nourished hair roots and a healthy scalp. When out in the open, wearing a scarf or sun hat is always helpful as sun protection is necessary! (IANS)