Chennai: In a shocking revelation, the independently installed air-quality monitoring systems have found Chennai’s air quality is unhealthy to hazardous during 80 per cent of the time.
Chennai-based Human Lung Foundation, The Other Media - Healthy Energy Initiative and Mumbai-based UrbanSciences had installed a low cost citizen-led real-time air quality monitoring systems at 5 locations in the city.
“The data revealed that between January 1 and January 23, daily average level of dangerous PM 2.5 in Vallur, Kodungaiyur, Ennore and Nandanam ranged from unhealthy to hazardous for more than 80 per cent of the time. The air quality at Eldams Road was better,” Dr. Arvind Kumar, Founder, Lung care foundation said.
He also added that none of the locations has any day where air quality was within the more WHO 24-hour standard of 25 ug/m3. Meanwhile, all locations recorded hazardous levels (above 180 ug/m3) of PM2.5 on Bhogi festival day, he said.
Dr Hisamuddin Papa, a leading pulmonologist, who has installed one air-quality monitor atop his hospital in Teynampet said that medical institutions and media houses should also invest in Rs 15,000 easy-to-operate air quality monitors.
Dr Papa added that the citizen air monitoring exercise would display its results on the website atmos.urbansciences.in/dashboard. "The website will continuously report readings of PM2.5 from the five locations," he added. “It may be assumed that coal ash dust is a significant contributor to Chennai’s air pollution,” Shweta Narayan of Healt-hy Energy Initiative, said.
She also said the new affordable and easy to operate air-quality monitors would cost Rs 15,000 only and many such monitors should be installed across the city to monitor air quality on daily basis. The data collected would be calibrated at IIT-Kanpur, she added.