Chennai safe from air pollution

By Naomi N Published on Nov 08, 2017 02:27 PM IST

Chennai: A public health emergency has been declared in Delhi by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) after a thick blanket of smog engulfed the capital on Tuesday. The air quality index reportedly being 'very poor', urging the IMA to appealed to Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister Manish Sisodia to stop all outdoor activities, marathon and sports in school due to the hazardous air pollution levels.

Depleting air quality is not a threat to Delhi alone, even Chennai is battling against pollution post Deepavali. But due to northeast monsoon, the pollution level has come down.

Speaking to News Today, about the situation in Delhi, Heart Care Foundation of India president and Indian Medical Association and well-known cardiologist  Dr K K Aggarwal said, "We have issued an advisory to the Delhi Government regarding the pollution levels and how it adversely impacts a person's health. Breathing problems, asthma are some of the threats. Such health can even lead to heart attack. The air quality index has reached even 1000. It is unfit for breathing."

He explained, "If it is 150 then no marathons can be held, 200 means it is not advised to cycle, jog or run. 300 indicates that it is not fit for long walks and 400 warns us against even a routine walk."

The Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi has recorded a maximum of 999.  Closer home, in Chennai, the indicators are better compared to Delhi.

An official with the Tamilnadu Pollution control board said, "Currently the city has been getting steady rains so the air quality index reflect satisfactory numbers. During Deepavali, we had 'still weather', but since Tamilndau gets wind and rain the pollution gets washed away. This is not the situation in Delhi, its a landlocked area with no sea breeze. Building construction, traffic stagnation and weather condition contribute to air pollution in a place. In Chennai, we do not have many industries and we get good sun light through the year which helps in dispersing air pollution."

Tamilnadu Asthma Allergy Research Foundation, Dr G Kamal said, "If the Particulate Matter (PM 2.5) exceeds in an area then several precautions have to be taken. Irritation in the eyes, chest tightness, shortness of breath and palpitation are some illness associated with poor air quality."

Dr Kamal says, "Ten years ago it was predicted that Delhi would face such a situation. But sadly there is no in-depth studies on air quality improvement. There are several breathing techniques for pulmonary rehabitation which can help in sustaining our health."

In numbers
AQI  PM2.5

Alandur-   173       92.58

IIT Madras- 157     76.64

Manali-        68        27.56

Chennai US Consulate- 76

(AQI- Air Quality Index, PM- Particulate Matter)

Latest figures from and Central Pollution Control Board.


How residents responded?
A recent survey by Shakti Sustainable Energy found that In Chennai, only 40 per cent of the respondents rated the air in the city as poor or very poor. Respondents from Chennai also claimed high levels of awareness,  72 per cent said they were very aware or extremely aware about air pollution. Around 61 per cent claimed an awareness and understanding of the air quality index (AQI).