Chennai

Air quality goes down as Chennai 'burns' early on Bhogi day

Smog covers Chennai on the day of Bhogi. An aerial view of Maduravoyal bypass Road on Friday morning.

Smog covers Chennai on the day of Bhogi. An aerial view of Maduravoyal bypass Road on Friday morning.   | Photo Credit: M. Vedhan

Air quality readings in Chennai on Friday showed a significant increase in the pollution levels after residents went about burning old items as per custom early in the morning on Bhogi day, first day of the four-day Pongal festival. Several Chennaiites woke up to smoke wafting through their windows and doors.

Real-time pollution data available on the Air Quality Index (AQI) of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) showed that since 8 a.m., particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) touched ‘severe’ levels.

Whenever a pollutant crosses 301 in the readings on the AQI, the pollution level is considered to be ‘Very Poor’. If the reading crosses 401, it is considered to be ‘Severe’.

On Friday morning, Chennai’s PM 2.5 readings as recorded at IIT Madras between 8 a.m. and 12 noon were: 320, 392, 483, 500, 436, and 341.

Although the overall pollution figures were 'moderate', and other pollutants were within the permissible limits, PM 2.5 readings ranged from 'Very Poor' to 'Severe' since morning.

According to the CPCB, if the pollutant level is 'Severe', it can induce respiratory illness on prolonged exposure or seriously affect those already having respiratory problems.

Particulate matters measuring 2.5 micrometres and less in dimension are deadly, as they can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause breathing problems, or they can even enter into your bloodstream, as per the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It also reduces visibility when combined with other elements in air to cause smog.

P.P. Chandrasekaran, Deputy Director (Lab) of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, told The Hindu that across the State, the district pollution control offices were conducting awareness programmes, including pasting banners on auto-rickshaws and making loudspeaker announcements to educate the masses on pollution related problems due to Bhogi day burning.

To a query he said the real-time pollution data on the CPCB website couldn’t go wrong. However, a more detailed analysis on pollution levels in the city and the rest of the State would only be available by afternoon.

Here is a comparison of pollution readings on Friday and the previous day to show the difference in air quality due to Bhogi burning.

Air quality on Thursday

Air quality goes down as Chennai 'burns' early on Bhogi day

Air quality on Bhogi day

Air quality goes down as Chennai 'burns' early on Bhogi day

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Printable version | Mar 27, 2020 9:14:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/Air-quality-goes-down-as-Chennai-burns-early-on-Bhogi-day/article17034027.ece

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