After Saturday downpour Chennai air quality sees marginal improvement

Chennai witnessed a steady decline in its air quality the past week, setting off alarm bells ringing.

Chennai: Thanks to the brief spell of rain on Saturday, the smog blanket cloaking the city for the past week has somewhat disappeared. As per real-time data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) monitors, the air quality has seen a marginal improvement. As of 7 pm on Monday, the concentration of particulate matter 2.5(PM 2.5), one of the main indicators of air quality in a region was measured at 102 micrograms per cubic metre at the Chennai US Consulate, 149 at Velachery and 37 at Alandur. The air quality data for Manali was unavailable. Notably, PM 2.5 index at Velachery and Alandur at 7 pm on Sunday was recorded at 260 and 240 respectively and 201 at Manali. The Central Pollution Control Board has declared the AQI of Chennai to be ‘moderate’
(as of 4 pm on Monday)

Chennai witnessed a steady decline in its air quality the past week, setting off alarm bells ringing. While many independent weather bloggers blamed the pollution in Delhi for Chennai's deteriorating air quality, the Regional Met department assured that the condition was caused due to local meteorological conditions and had maintained that the haze would dissipate in a week's time. However, several environmentalists and activists have expressed concerns over the situation and have pushed for proactive measures on the government’s part.

Meanwhile, a high –level meeting was convened on Monday by RB Udayakumar, Minister for Revenue to review the public health crisis. Gagandeep Singh Bedi, Agricultural production commissioner and Principal secretary to the government, J Radhakrishnan, Commissioner of revenue administration and D Sekar, Tamilnadu Pollution control board member secretary were also present at the meet. Repeating the IMD’s stand, the minister attributed the pollution to local weather conditions. “We are taking measures to control pollution. The TNPCB is constantly monitoring the air pollution levels in the city”, he said adding that measures are being taken to curb pollution in the city.

Elaborating on this, the minister informed that the public has been warned against burning trees, tyres and garbage across the city and suburban areas.

Construction sites have been advised to spray water before commencing work in a bid to prevent dust from circulating.” The TNPCB will also be monitoring vehicular emission and check if they are within the permissible levels.”, he said.

“While vehicular emission accounts for 15 % of the pollution, dust from construction sites contributes 30 %. Industrial emissions and incarceration of waste are the other major factors.”, elaborated J Radhakrishnan. He requested the public not to panic and claimed that the eight air monitoring stations set up by the central pollution control board in the city might, in fact, provide false information.” The data we recorded using localized mobile units are largely different from the CPCB’s numbers.”, he claimed.

Meanwhile, no casualties were reported to due air pollution, said Dr Kolandaiswamy, Director of Public Health. He also advised the public to seek medical treatment in case of breathing problems.

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