Suspended particulate matter found above permissible limit at 15 monitored locations

Residents across the city on Sunday felt the effects of pollution, with Bhogi fires burning across the city.

At all 15 locations monitored by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, pollution levels were found above the permissible limit.

Virugambakkam residents experienced the highest level of dust pollution on Bhogi day with the locality recording 389 microgram/cubic metre of respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM). The permissible limit for RSPM is 100 microgram/cubic metre.

H. Shankar, a resident of Virugambakkam, who lives on the third floor, said that even before he woke up, he could feel the thick smell of smoke in the air.

“I am used to sleeping with the windows open and the smoke reached my nose even before I woke up,” he said.

Eleven locations recorded RSPM levels above 200 microgram/cubic metre. Manali was second with 269 microgram/cubic metre and Thiru-Vi-Ka Nagar was third with 267 microgram/cubic metre. Perungudi recorded the lowest of 157 microgram/cubic metre.

Sources in the Board attributed the high levels of pollution to very high humidity hovering around 94 per cent in some places, low wind velocity at 2-4 km/hour until 8 a.m. and low temperatures. The Nungambakkam observatory recorded a minimum temperature of 19.4 degree Celsius.

“Though residents listen to us and don’t burn plastic and rubber, they continue to burn other kinds of waste. The low levels of SO2 and NOx are proof of this. Teams of officials and police that fanned the city put out several fires lit by residents stating tradition,” an official said.

K. Nethra, a resident of Mettukuppam, said that she could not see much when she went out in the morning to bring in the milk packets.

“I drew the kolam only after 8.30 a.m. as I waited for the sun to come out. I had left clothes out on the open terrace overnight and when I removed them at 10 a.m. they smelt of smoke,” she said.

C. Sekar, a resident of Perambur, said, at 7 a.m., visibility in his area was so poor that he couldn’t see two buildings away.

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