Tondiarpet High Road and Basin Bridge Road are among the worst-affected; residents complain of poor visibility, eye irritation

Motorists plying arterial stretches of north Chennai are increasingly having trouble keeping their eyes open because of the dust that seems to constantly envelope the region.

They say the visibility is low, particularly at night, and they suffer eye irritation. Tondiarpet High (TH) Road and Basin Bridge Road are among the worst-affected stretches. The roads that connect to these arterial stretches such as Sathya Murthy Nagar Main Road, Basin Elephant Gate Road and TVK Link Road, which cut through residential areas, are also dust-ridden.

Residents and road users said constant movement of heavy vehicles as well as garbage-laden vehicles to the Kodungaiyur dumping yard, and ongoing work for construction of a flyover at Basin Bridge contributed to the dust cover.

M. Perumal, a resident of Manali, travels on T. H. Road every day for work. “One cannot go behind a lorry as it leaves behind a trail of dust. The dust almost blinds me and the situation is worse at night. Nothing except a cloud of dust is seen and it is difficult for motorists to spot vehicles coming in the opposite direction.”

Some motorists said they tied handkerchiefs to cover their nose and mouth while travelling on these roads.

Rajeswari, a resident of Mullai Nagar, said the dusty conditions had caused accidents on MKB Nagar East Avenue and Sathya Murthy Nagar Main Road. “Recently, two motorists ran into each other due to poor visibility. Some residents of Mallipoo Colony regularly complain of cough and throat irritation due to the dust on the road. The sand lying on the road is seldom cleared,” she said.

C. Sundar of Kaviarasu Kannadhasan Nagar said many residents like him had gotten used to living along the dusty T.H. Road. “We inhale the dust every day. The dumping yard at Kodungaiyur adds to the dust in the area,” he said.

R. Narasimhan, senior respiratory physician, Apollo Hospitals, said constant exposure to dust could cause a running nose, cold, sneezing, eye irritation and watery eyes. “Inhalation of dust could cause bronchitis-like symptoms like cough, breathlessness and wheezing. Motorists should wear helmets with visors,” he said.

Officials of Chennai Corporation said the recent rains had brought silt on to the roads and hence, there was plenty of sand on several stretches. “We have road workers and sweepers to regularly clear the sand from the roads. The dust and debris is collected in vehicles and taken to the garbage dumping yard at Kodungaiyur. It is not dumped elsewhere,” an official said.

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