With air pollution levels in major Uttar Pradesh cities rising to critical levels around Diwali, the state green watchdog has shut nearly a dozen plywood factories in Lucknow while serving notices on almost 100 companies, including estate developers in other places.
The UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) has ordered about 12 plywood units in the state capital to suspend operations until November 15 with a view to improving the air quality.
Besides, notices were recently issued to about 100 companies for polluting the air with dust particles and other pollutants. At the same time, penalties have also been imposed on some repeat offenders.
The agencies and companies taken to task for air pollution include real estate developers, including even the UP Housing Board, for their ongoing projects across the state. The UPPCB has asked these firms to minimise damage to air quality at their construction sites by sprinkling water to arrest the rise of dust particles.
According to official sources, more than three dozen metal furnace units in the brassware hub of Moradabad have also been asked to remain shut until November 15.
The average air quality index (AQI) of Lucknow had breached 270 a few days ago, but the matrix improved to around 155 on Saturday, partly due to the westerly winds that hit the area before Diwali.
However, the regulator is still apprehensive that the city’s air quality could again dip, thanks to burning of crackers on Diwali. In the wake of the Diwali festival, the UPPCB has advised industrial units using petroleum products to take precautions for the next few days.
Meanwhile, the state agriculture department has also issued monetary fines on a few farmers for stubble burning in their fields which has been banned by the state government. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has earlier spoken on the issue at several platforms to curb air pollution.