Punjab to install dust collectors on 50,000 grain cleaners to combat dust pollution, tackle lung diseases

Chandigarh: Punjab is all set to counter dust pollution in grain markets across the state with installation of dust collectors on nearly 50,000 grain cleaning machines — thus providing relief to 3,00,000 directly-affected workers, it was announced on Monday.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

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 (PPCB) has developed certain types of machines that collect the dust particles which pollute the air during the crops' cleaning process, said PPCB 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 is created during the cleaning process. This not only increases the pollution but also causes the spread of respiratory allergies or lung disease.

According to Pannu, the board took air samples from 10 main grain markets of the state and found that Respiratory Particulate Matter (RPM) levels were 5-8 times more than the 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 percent of the dust particles.

There are 50,000 mechanical grain cleaners in the state and six workers work on a single machine, thus directly affecting at least 3,00,000 workers by the dust pollution. With dust mounting machines fitted on mechanical grain cleaners, 90 percent 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 earlier.

The pollution control board is now taking steps to make this machine mandatory on mechanical grain cleaners in all the grain markets.

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Updated Date: Jun 11, 2018 21:06:15 IST

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