Lakhs of farmers and workers who frequent Punjab's grain markets face a major heath hazard due to the dust-laden air at these sites, but it will soon be a thing of the past with state pollution control board introducing a new machine to be installed in mechanical grain cleaners there.
The polluted air is the main cause of respiratory and lung diseases among labourers, farmers and those living in the vicinity of the grain markets, Chairman of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) Kahan Singh Pannu said here today.
The Board took air samples from 10 main grain markets of the state and found that RPMs (Respirable Particulate Matter) was five to eight times more than the prescribed limit of 100 microgram per cubic metre, he said.
There are 50,000 mechanical grain cleaners in the grain markets of Punjab which produce a lot of dust and an an estimated six workers works on single machine. Thus, nearly three lakh workers are affected by dust pollution.
The PPCB has developed a machines to check air pollution during the cleaning process of crops, Pannu said, adding they will help to keep the environment healthy inside and outside the mandis.
After discussions with farmers, commission agents and other stakeholders, the board has developed a dust collector, which will be installed on mechanical grain cleaners, he said.
With dust mounting machines fitted on mechanical grain cleaners, 90 per cent dust will accumulate in them, thereby helping to keep the environment clean, he said.
This machine was tested in Asia's largest grain market Khanna, and it was successful, he said.
The Board is now taking steps to make this machine mandatory on mechanical grain cleaners in all the grain markets, he said, adding dust pollution is a major danger, which needs to be curbed urgently.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)