The data collected by Central Pollution Control Board reveals that every goldsmith and restaurant/hotel owner uses 15 kg to 25 kg coal or up to 50 litres of diesel/kerosene a day, depending upon the workload and availability of electricity. CPCB had found high levels of harmful nitrous oxide and sulphur dioxide in the ambient air. Experts had also cautioned that fireworks release these gases which could react with marble leading to corrosion and blackening. Miniature paintings and gold plating were also under threat from harmful gases, experts added.
Board has recommended to the Punjab government to ban burning of fuel other than LPG in the walled city to save the Golden Temple.
A team had visited the Golden Temple complex last year to free its surroundings free from pollutants on the pattern of the Taj Mahal. It had also favoured restriction on vehicles in 500-m- radius of Harmandar Sahib and suggested to use low-intensity crackers and fireworks during Gurpurbs or Bandi Chhor Diwas (Diwali).
However, the Amritsar Municipal Corporation’s decision to make surrounding the shrine a vehicle-free zone by introducing battery-operated buses to ferry pilgrims is still in the pipeline.