Chandigarh, June 11 (IANS) Punjab is all set to counter dust pollution from grain markets across the state with installation of dust collectors on nearly 50,000 grain cleaning machines, thus providing relief to 300,000 directly-affected workers, it was announced on Monday.
The pollution is the main cause of respiratory and lung diseases among labourers, farmers, and commission agents as well as those living in the vicinity of the grain markets.
Under this initiative, the Punjab Pollution Control Board has developed certain types of machines that collect the dust particles which pollute the air during the crops' cleaning process, said board Chairman Kahan Singh Pannu.
These machines will help to keep the environment healthy inside and outside the grain markets, he added.
When the crops arrive at the grain markets, a lot of dust flows during their cleansing process, and this not only increases the pollution but also causes the spread of respiratory allergies or lung disease.
Pannu said the board took air samples from 10 main grain markets of the state and found that RPM levels (respiratory particulate matter) was five to eight times more than from prescribed limit of 100 microgram per cubic metre.
He said this dust pollution was a major danger which urgently needed to be curbed.
After discussions with farmers and other stakeholders, the board developed a dust collector, to be installed on mechanical grain cleaners, and found they can remove 80 to 90 per cent of the dust particles.
There are 50,000 mechanical grain cleaners in the state and six workers work on a single machine, thus making at least 300,000 workers directly affected by the dust pollution. With dust mounting machines fitted on mechanical grain cleaners, 90 per cent dust will be accumulated in it, thereby helping to keep the environment clean.
This machine's test in Asia's largest grain market in Khanna town was successful.
The pollution control board is now taking steps to make this machine mandatory on mechanical grain cleaners in all the grain markets.