With a blanket of dust haze covering Punjab and Haryana for the third day on Friday due to dust storms originating from Rajasthan and adjoining areas since Wednesday, the air quality has worsened in both the states.

While the dust haze continued to disrupt flight operations at the Chandigarh airport which had seen 30 cancellations on Thursday, ongoing construction works and re-carpeting of roads in Punjab have been stopped following an advisory issued by Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) on Friday.

In view of severe dust pollution, the Haryana State Pollution Control Board
(HSPCB) had on Thursday issued an advisory that no construction activity could be carried out for the next two days in districts falling under the National Capital Region (NCR).

As per the data released by PPCB on Friday, as the Air Quality Index (AQI) has reached its all time high putting the air quality condition as severe. PPCB officials said that dust particles that engulfed the entire region from Wednesday afternoon has pushed the state’s AQI to the severest category, even higher than the pollution levels that persist during the stubble burning each year.

They added that Particulate Matter 10 is five to six times higher than the normal value of 100 micrograms per cubic meters (µg/m3).

The AQI of Ludhiana 443, Amritsar 454, Mandi Gobindgarh 440, Khanna 389, Patiala 403 and Ropar 417 was recorded in severe category of air quality, added the PPCB officials.

“The Board considered this as natural calamity and the deteriorating of air quality is effecting the human beings, animals and plants as a whole. We have issued an advisory for general public that all construction activities including carpeting of roads be stopped hence forth,” said PPCB Chairman KS Pannu.

The advisory issued by PPCB highlighted that sand, soil must be carried duly covered in trolleys and trucks. Also, the players, athletes, walkers, senior citizen should avoid exercises and walks till the weather is cleared.

It further states that asthmatic, heart, eyes, skin patients must remain indoors and parents are advised not to let their children play outside rather they should be involved in indoor activities. The people are further advised not to travel long distances in open trolleys and trucks.

As per meteorological department forecast the western disturbances are approaching northern India and rainfall is expected in a day or two to clear this haze and dust and will give relief to the people.