Chennai: Chennai’s air quality declined further for the fifth consecutive day on Friday. With the concentration of PM 2.5 measured at an all-time high of 331, Manali’s air quality slipped from ‘very unhealthy’ on Thursday to ‘hazardous’ on Friday. The pollution was no better in other areas. The AQI of Velachery was recorded at 209 and Chennai US Consulate at 190.
Speaking on this, N Puviarasan, Director, Regional Met Department, said that the situation in Chennai was a result of the slow speed of winds and informed that the smog will disappear once the wind picks up pace.” The smoke plumes could be observed 700 metres into the earth’s atmosphere on Thursday,’ he added.
While stubble burning by farmers in Punjab and Haryana could be blamed for Delhi’s air pollution, uncontrolled emission by vehicular traffic on roads and industrial pollution in case of north Chennai could be held responsible for Chennai’s poor air quality. As many environmentalists have pointed out, 70 per cent of the city’s polluted air is flushed out by the sea breeze. This indicates that Chennai’s air quality is worrisome, even sans the problem of stubble burning and despite having the benefit of being located near a sea.
Though Chennai would most certainly never approach a Delhi -like scenario in terms of air pollution, it is about time that we regard this as a sound warning from nature. The administration too should act before its too late and ensure that the public health is not compromised, say environmentalists.
“Perhaps, the government could take a leaf out of Delhi’s book. The odd-even scheme, which was introduced a tad too late in Delhi and other similar policies could be adopted here. Most importantly, the administration here should recognize this as a potential threat and act,” says Sandhya, a student activist.
Even as a nation, India could take a cue from countries like Singapore, which curbs air pollution by keeping a check on the number of vehicles on roads.
This is done by allowing only a limited number of registrations per year. Cars are also culled after they exceed the permitted years of use....