Chennai: After Diwali, air quality levels turn hazardous – Times of India

Chennai News
Green fireworks were promoted and time restrictions imposed, but Chennai’s air and noise pollution levels dropped to hazardous levels on Diwali, with the average value of Air Quality Index (AQI) ranging between 342 and 385, shows Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) data.
Government standards say an AQI of above 100 can cause breathing discomfort.
TNPCB’s report of Ambient Air Quality Survey (AAQ) showed there was a substantial increase in values of Particulate Matter (PM 10 and PM 2.5) at the monitoring stations in Besant Nagar, T Nagar, Nungambakkam, Triplicane and Sowcarpet compared to 2020 when Covid curbs were more.
This year, Diwali was celebrated with more fervour. “People were waiting to celebrate it and did so with less fear,” said Priyanka Golecha of Purasawalkam. Police booked 668 cases against people for setting off fireworks beyond the restricted time.

“Green crackers are never going to solve the problem as they are only 30% less polluting compared to normal ones. We have never seen the AQI drop to such alarming levels in Chennai. This is definitely going to cause more lung-related diseases and hamper children’s development,” said G Sundarrajan, an environmental activist from Poovulagin Nanbargal.
A senior TNPCB official attributed the high pollution levels to lack of air/wind movement due to humidity. Rain on Wednesday night and Thursday morning also forced residents to burst firecrackers in a short time on Diwali evening.
Also, more use of rockets and multi-shots at night led to more release of PM, the official said. Given the ban on some varieties, more people opted for such fireworks and even then there was a notable increase in overall sales, say shop owners.
On Friday night, however, AIQ began to improve due to winds. “But enough damage has been caused,” said Sundarrajan.
There was a drop in the number of fire accidents, deaths, burns and even sale of liquor. A total of 47 suffered minor burns on Thursday. It was almost double the same during Diwali 2020. The fire and rescue services department deployed at least 10 personnel in each of the major control rooms and received 56 such calls.